Police block protesters from reaching the Elections Supervisory Agency’s office during a protest in Jakarta on May 21. (Photo by Konradus Epa/ucanews.com)
Six people have been killed and more than two hundred others injured, according to Jakarta’s governor after protests against the re-election of Indonesian President Joko Widodo turned violent.
Dozens of people were arrested after clashes flared in the early hours of May 22 following the release of official election results a few hours earlier that confirmed Widodo had won a second term.
Local media reports quoted Jakarta governor Anies Baswedan as saying that six people were killed and at least 200 injured in the violence.
The protest began peacefully on May 21 after the country’s election commission announced Widodo had defeated his rival Prabowo Subianto with 55.5 percent of the vote.
Tension had been building in Jakarta prior to the announcement with Subianto disputing unofficial results and claiming massive cheating had taken place.
He had reportedly called on supporters to turn out to protest against the official results.
Police said violence broke early on May 22 when they tried to break up the protest by at least 1,000 people.
Television footage from KompasTV showed protesters pelting police with stones and petrol bombs, while cars were set on fire.
Jakarta police spokesman Argo Yuwono said police responded with rubber bullets, tear gas and water cannon.
Security forces on the ground used no live rounds, said the spokesman, who did not confirm or deny the governor's comments on casualty figures.
However, according to Indonesian news website Tirto.com, one of those killed had been shot during the clashes.
Prabowo, distanced himself from the violence, saying he had called on his supporters to protest peacefully.
“Anything unpeaceful is not from my supporters,” the former general said.
Prior to the protests and before the announcement of the official results members of his camp had called for “people power” to challenge the election’s outcome.
Two leading supporters were arrested for treason soon after making the call.
Fransiscus Hermawi Taslim, a member of Widodo's campaign team, condemned the violence.
“If the election was fraudulent they can appeal to the Constitutional Court, not conduct acts of violence,” the Catholic politician told ucanews.com.
Those behind the violence must be brought to justice, he said.
Tensions remained high on May 22 with more protesters reportedly gathering outside the election commission building later in the morning.