6 dead, 200 injured in Jakarta protests after Indonesia declares election results

itoday - Six people died and 200 were wounded as riots escalated in the Indonesian capital on Wednesday morning (May 22),  Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan said.

“Six people have died so far. Two at Tarakan Hospital and then at Pelni, Budi Kemulyaan, Cipto Mangunkusumo and RSAL Mintoharjo hospitals,” he said.

“In total, six people had died and 200 sustained injuries as of 9 a.m.,” he added.

Mr Anies said he had gone to Tarakan Hospital in Central Jakarta earlier in the morning to check on the injured protesters.

“Tarakan Hospital received the largest number of patients as of this morning. Around 80 injured protesters were brought in this morning. Meanwhile, around 70 injured protesters were admitted to Pelni Hospital in West Jakarta,” he said.

Mr Anies called on the protesters to maintain public order and safety to prevent more deaths and injuries.

“Please protest in a peaceful and orderly manner. I also urge law enforcement personnel to practice restraint to avoid any unwanted conflicts with the protesters,” he said.

Earlier, at least three were injured as rioters clashed with police on Wednesday morning when they tried to force their way into the police mobile brigade (Brimob) housing complex in West Jakarta.

The Brimob complex faced arson attacks in the early hours of Wednesday as an angry mob protested against the election commission's declaration of  April 17 presidential election results. Several police vehicles parked in the complex were also set on fire.

For a while, gun shots could be heard as army reserves were deployed and were seen negotiating with the crowd. The police also set up road bloackades around the Brimob complex.

Police and military personnel in riot gear have been using tear gas as well as crowd control guns and rubber pellet grenades to repel the remnants of protesters who refused to disperse after a street rally on Tuesday.

Most of an estimated 2,000-strong crowd, that staged a sit-in on the streets outside the elections supervisory body Bawasalu, had left the scene by about 10pm local time Tuesday. But on Wednesday morning, a crowd of about 300 had reassembled and was staging a peaceful rally.

But a handful of smaller groups clashed with security personnel near the Tanah Abang market in Central Jakarta from about 2am on Wednesday, hurling rocks and setting off what appeared to firecrackers, as the riot troops approached.

Similar scenes played out earlier from about midnight in the Jalan Sabang area, after police riot troops were chasing down a group of protesters that tried to damage the iron fencing at the Bawaslu building.

Tensions remain in the capital a day after the General Elections Commission (KPU) released its official vote count which saw the incumbent Joko Widodo defeat his rival Prabowo Subianto with 55.5 per cent of the votes.

Mr Prabowo has rejected the KPU tally, saying he will file a legal challenge at the Constitutional Court over allegations of electoral fraud.

The protests in Jakarta on Tuesday were organised mainly by groups that support Mr Prabowo, although his campaign team has sought to distance themselves from the rallies, following the arrest of a member of his coalition for instigating the "people power" movement against Bawaslu and the KPU.

Jakarta remains on edge ahead of plans by an Islamist group to hold another major rally on Wednesday at the KPU headquarters to protest the results of last month's presidential polls.

The call for Muslims to throng the streets around the KPU, located in downtown Jakarta has been circulating on social media on the weekend, in anticipation of the official released of the vote count.

The rally organisers, who identified themselves as Persaudaraan Alumni 212, are calling the mass gathering a "constitutional jihad", according to publicity material seen by The Straits Times on Sunday. The name Persaudaraan Alumni 212 refers to people who took part in a rally held in the capital more than two years ago on Dec 2, against former Jakarta governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama for insulting Islam.

The 2016 protest, led by far-right Muslims from the Islamic Defenders Front, better known locally as the FPI, had threatened to destabilise the country during the gubernatorial election, which was marred by religiosity and sectarianism.

Reports ahead of the rallies this week raised similar fears among many in the city, prompting foreign missions such as the United States Embassy to issue a warning of "heightened risk of terrorism" and mass demonstrations in Jakarta, as well as other cities in Indonesia, such as Surabaya and Medan.

A police spokesman said on Tuesday that 50,000 security personnel have been mobilised to secure the city, up from 32,000 troops it said would be deployed at the weekend.

source: traitstimes.com

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