Indonesia's re-election of Joko Widodo as President sparks deadly protests in Jakarta

Police installing barbed wire before a rally by members of the Islamic Defenders Front in front of the election supervisory body office in Jakarta

Supporters of an unsuccessful presidential candidate clashed with security forces and set fire to a police dormitory and vehicles in the Indonesian capital on Wednesday after the release of official election results.

The official result released by the General Election Commission (KPU) confirms unofficial counts by private pollsters of the April 17 election, giving Widodo a comfortable victory, though it could trigger a legal challenge and potential street protests after Prabowo claimed widespread cheating. The official election results were announced on Tuesday and Subianto, a former general, has refused to concede defeat, instead declaring himself the victor and planning a court challenge.

An election supervisory agency earlier on Monday dismissed claims of systematic cheating because of a lack of evidence and independent observers and analysts have said the poll was free and fair.

"It's worth remembering that worldwide observers have said the elections were largely free and fair, even though Prabowo alleges widespread cheating", Looi said.

Protesters gathered outside the election supervisory agency in central Jakarta. Some of those arriving were carrying wooden sticks and had put toothpaste around their eyes to try counteract tear gas, Reuters explained.

Following the announcement of the results Tuesday, some 2,000 people staged a sit-in outside the Election Supervisory Board, with a lot of them having left by 10 instructed by police, the Straits Times reported.

Medics were seen treating dozens of protesters affected by tear gas and using oxygen to revive some who had passed out.

By evening the protests had turned violent. More than 20 suspected provocateurs were arrested, he said Wednesday.

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Widodo warned of tough action against those instigating riots.

Chief security minister Wiranto said access to social media was going to be partly blocked - including photo and video sharing - to limit Internet hoaxes.

Indonesian authorities say 40,000 police and army personnel are on duty across Jakarta to maintain security.

Several office buildings and embassies in downtown Jakarta were closed on Wednesday, as were train stations in the area. "Although people should be given their right to express their opinions, including protests (of the election's result), the key is that any protest should be carried out in a responsible, orderly and peaceful manner".

Protesters clash with Indonesian riot police during a demonstration after the official government election results were announced on May 22, 2019 in Jakarta, Indonesia. "And so I plead to all elements of the people exercising their aspirations: the police, the armed forces, and everyone else to refrain from acts of physical harm".

Dedi Prasetyo, another spokesman with the national police, said 62 protesters were arrested.

"This is not a spontaneous incident, this is something by design".

A military spokesperson confirmed to local media that a retired major general known only as "S", believed to be Major General Soenarko, and two others had been arrested for weapons smuggling.


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