Six people have been killed and over 200 others wounded in clashes between the supporters of Indonesia’s unsuccessful presidential candidate and security forces in the capital, Jakarta, following the release of the official election results.
The election commission had been originally due to give the final tally of last month’s election on Wednesday, but it abruptly announced that President Joko Widodo had been re-elected on Tuesday.
His rival, ex-special forces commander Prabowo Subianto, contested the results, alleging massive fraud even as he failed to provide credible evidence.
An election supervisory agency dismissed the claim of systematic fraud, with its independent observers confirming that the poll had been free and fair.
As Widodo’s supporters were on the streets celebrating his re-election on Tuesday evening, some 2,000 protesters gathered at the headquarters of the election supervisory agency Bawaslu.
Despite Subianto’s call for calm, the protests turned violent and continued through the night, with angry people throwing rocks and Molotov cocktails and burning projectiles, according to National Police spokesman Dedi Prasetyo.
Vehicles and a paramilitary police dormitory were set ablaze, as police used tear gas and water cannon to disperse the protesters.
“As of now, police have arrested more than 20 people we thought were the provocateurs and who did other crimes,” Prasetyo said.
He said security officers on the ground, which included military personnel, were not equipped with live bullets.
An Indonesian news website reported that one of the dead had sustained a gunshot wound.
Jakarta police spokesman Argo Yuwono said separately that some 50,000 police and soldiers had been mobilized in the city in anticipation of protests.
Many people have left the city, and parts of the downtown are closed to traffic. Police also blocked the streets leading to the election supervisory agency and election commission.
Subianto’s campaign office said it would challenge the election in the Constitutional Court. The former general, who also lost to Widodo in 2014, has said he would mobilize “people power” for days of street protests.