At least six people were killed and hundreds more injured in clashes between police and supporters of Indonesian presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto in the worst political violence to hit Jakarta in two decades.
Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan appealed for public order and urged police to exercise restraint and avoid conflict with the protesters in the capital city. About 200 injured protesters have been admitted to various hospitals in Jakarta, Baswedan told reporters. The violence is the worst since to grip the city since the downfall of Suharto in 1998.
Groups of people also clashed with the police in several other parts of the capital, setting vehicles on fire, hurling stones and petrol bombs, he said.
The military is ready to deploy additional troops if needed, spokesperson Sisriadi told reporters. The government also ordered curbs on social media usage with certain features of Facebook, Instagram and messaging systems being disabled to prevent downloading of pictures and videos, according to Communications Minister Rudiantara.
Supporters of Prabowo, as Subianto is commonly known, have threatened to rally outside the nation’s General Elections Commission and the poll watchdog to protest the official result confirming incumbent Joko Widodo’s as the winner of the election.
Prabowo’s campaign team called for calm and urged police to exercise restraint. Dradjad Wibowo, a spokesman for the team, said it stood by its demand for an independent investigation into the claims of vote-rigging.
“We cannot dismiss the accusation of vote rigging just like that,” Wibowo said.
“The claims have to be investigated independently by a group agreed by both sides that has the power to get all the details. It’s very important. Without that it will be very difficult to get reconciliation.”
Widodo, known as Jokowi, won the presidential race with 55.5 percent of the national vote, the commission said, an outcome rejected by Prabowo, who has threatened a court challenge. The former general has repeatedly claimed victory, citing his own team’s survey of votes, and alleged the commission had made no effort to address complaints of election irregularities.
“There’s a lot of people who absolutely and sincerely support Prabowo and his coalition of parties and are very disappointed with the result,” said Greg Barton, a professor of global Islamic politics at Deakin University in Australia. “Given the momentum behind the desire to protest, given Prabowo’s commitment and given his resources, there was always going to be a bit of venting.”
The political unrest may undermine Jokowi’s efforts to bolster growth and tackle a high current account deficit that’s weighed on the Southeast Asian nation’s currency, stocks and bonds.
Jokowi has called for peace and unity, urging citizens to respect the will of the people and the democratic process.