JAKARTA – At least six people have died and 200 were injured in clashes on Wednesday between police and people protesting the re-election of Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo.
The governor of Jakarta, Anies Baswedan, provided the latest information to reporters after visiting Tarakan hospital in the center of the capital city, while police sources told EFE that at least 60 people had been arrested.
In clashes that began on Tuesday night and continued into Wednesday morning, protesters who had gathered outside the headquarters of the Elections Supervisory Agency (Bawaslu) and the Elections Commission (KPU) burned several vehicles after the police tried to disperse them with tear gas.
The violence broke out at the end of a peaceful protest held by supporters of the losing presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto, who has said he will challenge the election results in the Constitutional Court, citing electoral fraud.
Thousands of people on Wednesday morning continued throwing stones and Molotov cocktails at the police, who responded by firing rubber pellets and tear gas.
The situation calmed after the arrival of troops, who stood between the police officials and protesters.
Jakarta police spokesperson Prabowo Argo Yuwono told EFE that police have secured the areas where the riots took place, but did not provide information on the number of casualties from the protests.
Some 32,000 officers were guarding the headquarters of the two election bodies with barbed wire and riot vehicles ahead of more potential protests later on Wednesday.
The riots came after the KPU confirmed on Tuesday Joko Widodo’s clear victory in the elections of April 17, in which he secured 55.5 percent of the ballots against 44.5 percent for Prabowo, who has refused to recognize or validate the final result of the polls.
During the campaign, Prabowo courted the Muslim vote and has allied himself with Islamist groups which led the protests. Indonesia is the world’s most populous Muslim-majority nation, where over 87 percent of the population are followers of Islam.
On Monday, Indonesia’s Election Supervisory Agency (Bawaslu) rejected claims by Prabowo’s camp of “structured, systematic and massive election administration violations,” although it did identify certain small-scale irregularities with the management of ballot boxes by KPU officials.
National Police spokesperson Dedi Prasetyo said that some 1,300 people who had traveled to Jakarta were staying in mosques with the intention of continuing the protests.
Authorities have also warned of possible terror attacks and have arrested dozens of radicals who were allegedly planning attacks during the demonstrations.