TheJakartaPost

Please Update your browser

Your browser is out of date, and may not be compatible with our website. A list of the most popular web browsers can be found below.
Just click on the icons to get to the download page.

Jakarta Post

Post-election unrest grips Jakarta

  • News Desk

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Wed, May 22, 2019   /   06:04 pm
Post-election unrest grips Jakarta Protesters set alight wooden stalls during a demonstration near the Elections Supervisory Agency (Bawaslu) in Jakarta on Wednesday. Heavily armed troops were on high alert amid fears of civil unrest in the capital, as the surprisingly early announcement of the official election results handed Joko “Jokowi” Widodo another term as leader of the world's third-biggest democracy. (AFP/Dany Khrisnadhi)

Deadly riots broke out in Jakarta shortly after supporters of losing presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto took to the streets on Tuesday to protest the results of the April 17 election, which they claimed were plagued with fraud.

Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan said six people had been killed during the worst riots to hit the capital city since 1998, when a student rally demanding the ouster of then-president Soeharto led to a deadly riot that killed thousands.

“Six people have died so far; two at Tarakan Hospital and [the others] at the hospitals Pelni, Budi Kemulyaan, Cipto Mangunkusumo and RSAL Mintoharjo,” he said.

The National Police confirmed that six people had died during the riots and said they were investigating the deaths. “This has to be clarified. We don’t want [people] to speculate, since there is an attempt to provoke people by blaming the security apparatus and inciting public anger,” National Police chief Gen. Tito Karnavian said.

The Jakarta Post can only independently confirm the deaths of three people: two people reported by Tarakan Hospital in West Jakarta and one at Budi Kemuliaan Hospital in Central Jakarta. The deceased were identified as 17-year-old Adam Nooryan, who lived in Tambora, West Jakarta, 17-year-old Widianto Rizky Ramadhan, who lived in Palmerah, West Jakarta and 30-year-old Farhan Syahfero, a resident of Depok, West Java.

Planned riots

The National Police believe the riots were orchestrated and said many of the arrested “provocateurs” came from outside Jakarta.

"We have detained 58 people suspected of being provocateurs of the riot," Police spokesperson Insp. Gen. M. Iqbal said at a press conference at the Office of the Coordinating Political, Legal and Security Affairs Minister in Central Jakarta. “There are indications that most of the rioters were from outside Jakarta and that they had been paid [to riot].”

He said the initial protesters outside the headquarters of the Elections Supervisory Agency (Bawaslu) were peaceful and had cooperated with police. "The protest coordinator asked for permission to break the fast together and perform tarawih (evening Ramadan prayers), which we allowed, even though the law states that protests should end by 6:30 p.m.”

Losing side: Supporters of the People’s Sovereignty National Movement (GNKR) attend a mass rally in front of the Elections Supervisory Agency (Bawaslu) headquarters on Jl. MH Thamrin in Central Jakarta on Tuesday to protest the results of the 2019 presidential election.
Losing side: Supporters of the People’s Sovereignty National Movement (GNKR) attend a mass rally in front of the Elections Supervisory Agency (Bawaslu) headquarters on Jl. MH Thamrin in Central Jakarta on Tuesday to protest the results of the 2019 presidential election. (Antara/Galih Pradipta )

He added that police had asked the crowd to disperse at 9:00 p.m, which it did without incident. “But then, around 11:00 p.m., another crowd of unknown origin arrived and started to damage the security barriers [in front of the Bawaslu headquarters]," he said.

Police then drove the crowd, which had started to throw projectiles such as rocks and Molotov cocktails at the security forces, back toward Tanah Abang.

After police had mostly subdued the crowd, another, separate group of people appeared and started attacking the National Police's Mobile Brigade (Brimob) dormitories in Petamburan, Cental Jakarta, setting the building on fire.

"We found an ambulance with a political party logo that was filled with rocks and other tools," Iqbal said, declining to name the party. "We also confiscated envelopes full of money."

A series of post-election protests also took place in Pontianak, West Kalimantan, with an unidentified group of people setting fire to a police post on Wednesday.

Social media restrictions

The government took measures to slow down the uploading and downloading of photographs on social media platforms and online messaging apps following the rioting in Central and West Jakarta.

"To avoid provocations and false news from spreading to the wider public, we are temporarily limiting access to certain features on social media," Coordinating Political, Legal and Security Affairs Minister Wiranto said at a press conference on Wednesday.

Carcasses that were burned by the mob are seen during an overnight demonstration near by the Elections Oversight Body (Bawaslu) in Jakarta on May 22, 2019. Carcasses that were burned by the mob are seen during an overnight demonstration near by the Elections Oversight Body (Bawaslu) in Jakarta on May 22, 2019. (AFP/Bay Ismoyo)

Communications and Information Minister Rudiantara said the sharing of videos and photos online had been blocked.

"The limitations are applied to features on social media platforms and messaging systems," Rudiantara said at the same press conference. "We know that the modus operandi [of spreading false news] is by posting videos, memes and photos on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. These posts are screen-capped and go viral on messaging apps, such as WhatsApp. So we will all experience a slowdown if we try to download or upload videos and photos."

He said the move was necessary because the fake videos and photos triggered an "emotional response."

He added that taking down the false news instead of limiting access altogether would be ineffective given the tens of millions of social media and WhatsApp users in Indonesia.

He emphasized that the restrictions were temporary but did not say when they might be lifted.

Prabowo denies responsibility

The campaign team of Prabowo Subianto and Sandiaga Uno has denied responsibility for the deadly riots.

“It was provocateurs who did the violent acts. From the beginning, Prabowo has called for a peaceful rally,” presidential campaign team spokesman Dahnil Anzar Simandjuntak said when arriving at Prabowo’s private residence on Jl. Kertanegara in South Jakarta on Wednesday.

“We call on all parties to stay calm," he said. "The police should not use weapons and should not arrest the protesters. The public should not be easily provoked.”

Gerindra Party deputy chairman and campaign team member Fadli Zon blamed the police for using excessive force. “We should also call on the authorities to not easily take action that could provoke the protesters, such as destroying [cars]. Prabowo wants all parties to calm down,” he said.

'Stern actions'

President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo, meanwhile, has said that the government will not tolerate anyone who disrupts the country’s security and democracy.

Jokowi, who had declared his reelection victory after beating rival Prabowo Subianto by a margin of 11 percentage points, said that his administration would not give in to the rioters and that the authorities would take stern actions against those who violated the law.

Five more years: President-elect Joko “Jokowi” Widodo is accompanied by running mate Ma’ruf Amin as he delivers a victory speech to residents of Johar Baru in Central Jakarta on Tuesday. The General Elections Commission (KPU) declared late on Monday Jokowi and Ma’ruf winners of the 2019 presidential election with 55.5 percent of the vote, while challengers Prabowo Subianto and running mate Sandiaga Uno received 44.5 percent.Five more years: President-elect Joko “Jokowi” Widodo is accompanied by running mate Ma’ruf Amin as he delivers a victory speech to residents of Johar Baru in Central Jakarta on Tuesday. The General Elections Commission (KPU) declared late on Monday Jokowi and Ma’ruf winners of the 2019 presidential election with 55.5 percent of the vote, while challengers Prabowo Subianto and running mate Sandiaga Uno received 44.5 percent. (JP/Seto Wardhana )

“I am open to anyone who wants to join hands to build and develop this country together, but I will not tolerate those who disrupt security, the process of democracy and the unity of our beloved country,” Jokowi said on Wednesday at the Merdeka Palace in Jakarta.

“There is no other option. The military and the police will carry out stern actions in accordance with the law,” Jokowi added.

The president, who was accompanied by Vice President Jusuf Kalla and top security officials, said that any objection related to the election should be settled through the Constitutional Court, which would assess all petitions and settle the disputes based on verified facts.

Jokowi expressed his appreciation to rivals Prabowo and Sandiaga, who said they wanted to take the General Elections Commission’s final vote tally of the presidential election to the Constitutional Court.

“The situation is still under control and the public should not be worried,” Jokowi said as he went on to call for the people to mend relations and unite in harmony after the election.