Six people were killed and more than 200 were injured in Jakarta inclashes between security forces and mobs protesting against the re-election of President Joko Widodo, BBC quoted Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan as saying on Wednesday.
Mass rallies were held on Tuesday after election results showed that Widodo had defeated his nearest rival Prabowo Subianto, winning 55.5% of the votes, reported Al Jazeera. The protests began peacefully but soon took a violent turn as protestors set cars on fire and threw firecrackers at the police. Prabowo has time till Friday to lodge a complaint with the Constitutional Court, which then has to announce its decision in 14 days.
The police held a press conference on Wednesday but did not confirm the number of people killed or injured. They said “some people [were] wounded and some died”, and refused to confirm the cause of deaths.
National Police spokesperson M Iqbal said 69 protestors were arrested. “We are concluding from these events that [these] were not spontaneous masses,” he told BBC. “They want anarchy, creating riots.”
An Indonesian news channel – KompasTV – showed demonstrators hurling stones, hundreds of riot police, and a paramilitary dormitory on fire, The Guardian reported. According to Indonesian website Tirto.com, one man died of gunshot wounds.
Dedi Prasetyo, another police spokesperson, said the protests continued throughout the night. He told reporters that the police were checking on reports of casualties but added that security forces, including military personnel, did not have live bullets.
Jakarta Police spokesperson Argo Yuwono said tear gas shells and water cannon were used to disperse the mob, which threw rocks, molotov cocktails, and burning projectiles. More than 30,000 security personnel were deployed across the capital city as the protests started.
A major train station was temporarily closed as roads were blocked in parts of the city while certain businesses also shut shop, BBC reported. Last week, tensions escalated after the police arrested suspects with links to the Islamic State group who had allegedly conspired to bomb post-election demonstrations.