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Indonesia riots: six dead after protesters clash with troops over election result

Mobs set fire to vehicles in Jakarta after supporters of Prabowo Subianto, who lost the vote, took to the streets

WT24 Desk

Six people are dead and more than 200 are injured, according to Jakarta’s governor, after mobs clashed with security forces and set fire to a police dormitory and vehicles in the Indonesian capital following the release of official election results, Agencies report.

National Police spokesman Dedi Prasetyo said protests by supporters of an unsuccessful presidential candidate turned violent late on Tuesday and continued through the night. Police said they had arrested 20 “provocateurs”.

Jakarta governor Anies Baswedan said six people had died and 200 were injured in the violence. He said hospitals were conducting post-mortems to determine the cause of the deaths. Indonesian police chief Tito Karnavian also confirmed the deaths.

The police chief said he had received confirmation of the fatalities from several hospitals in Jakarta. Authorities are still investigating the cause of death and are not willing to rule out the involvement of ‘third party provocateurs’, he added.

Meanwhile Indonesia’s security minister Wiranto has said authorities will restrict access to social media in certain areas to prevent the spread of fake news.

KompasTV showed protesters throwing rocks, a paramilitary police dormitory on fire, and hundreds of riot police in a central neighbourhood of the city. One man reportedly died after sustaining a gunshot wound in the melee, according to Indonesian news website Tirto.com.

Prasetyo said police were checking on reports of casualties, but stressed that security officers on the ground, which include military personnel, were not equipped with live bullets.

Jakarta police spokesman Argo Yuwono said police used tear gas and water cannon against protesters who threw rocks, molotov cocktails and burning projectiles.

The capital has been on edge in recent days ahead of the official announcement of the April presidential election results, which on Tuesday confirmed that incumbent President Joko Widodo had won a second term, with 55.5% of the vote.

His opponent, fiery ex-special forces commander Prabowo Subianto has refused to accept the results, alleging the poll was marred by widespread fraud – a claim his team is yet to produce compelling evidence to support.

The opposition said on Tuesday they would contest the results in court, a repeat move of Prabowo’s unsuccessful bid for president in 2014.

In recent weeks key figures in the Prabowo camp have called for “people power” as a response to the electoral outcome, with at least two associated figures facing treason charges as a result.

More than 30,000 troops have been deployed to secure the Indonesian capital ahead of a planned protest, with some government offices and schools closed as a precaution.

A major commuter train station in the area was temporarily shut, while roads were blocked off in parts of the sprawling city. Some shopping malls, businesses and schools were also closed.

Tensions have been exacerbated by a string of recent arrests of terrorist suspects, who police say had planned to create chaos by bombing the post-election protests.

Police on Tuesday arrested a former general for allegedly smuggling weapons to the protest, while authorities confiscated Molotov cocktails from one minibus of Prabowo supporters traveling to the capital from Java.

As of Wednesday morning protestors had started to gather outside the elections supervisory agency building.

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