Indonesia post-election protests leave six dead in Jakarta

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Protesters clash with the police downtown in Thamrin, Jakarta, Indonesia, early May 22, 2019 in this photo taken by Antara Foto. Antara Foto/Muhammad Adimaja/via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. MANDATORY CREDIT. INDONESIA OUT. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

Six people have been killed and 200 injured during mass rallies in Jakarta against the re-election of Indonesian President Joko Widodo. Indonesian police confirmed the death toll based on reports from hospitals. They said the cause of the deaths was being investigated. The national police chief has said the public should not assume police were responsible. Social media has been restricted in some areas to stop rumors spreading. National police chief Tito Karnavian denied that his officers had used live ammunition and called for calm. “Some had gunshot wounds, some had blunt force wounds but we still need to clarify this,” he said, referring to the six dead, who are believed to have been killed overnight in the capital on Tuesday. The authorities have said the protests were planned and “not spontaneous”. They have suggested that a group of provocateurs may have been responsible for the violence. “A majority of the protesters came from outside of Jakarta,” said Muhammed Iqbal, a police spokesman. Protesters have been gathering again in the city on Wednesday. President Widodo has promised firm action against rioters. Protests in the capital Jakarta started peacefully on Tuesday but soon turned violent, with cars set on fire and firecrackers thrown at police.

Police in riot gear fired tear gas to disperse the crowd. The protests erupted after election results showed Mr Widodo had beaten his long-time rival Prabowo Subianto.The country’s General Election Commission confirmed on Tuesday that Mr Widodo had won the presidency, taking 55.5% of votes. Mr Prabowo has rejected the results, alleging cheating, but the election commission has dismissed his claims. The ex-general also lost against Mr Widodo at the last election in 2014, and went on to unsuccessfully challenge the results. More than 192 million people were eligible to vote in the presidential and general elections that took place on 17 April. After the official results were announced on Tuesday, thousands gathered in front of the election supervisory building in support of Mr Prabowo, but later moved on to other areas across Jakarta after police urged the crowd to disperse, according to BBC Indonesian. Local TV stations showed several standoffs between protesters and police in parts of the city. More than 30,000 troops had been deployed in Jakarta in anticipation of potential violence. On Wednesday, chief security minister Wiranto, who uses just a single name, said access to social media would be blocked in some areas. The restrictions including on photo and video sharing aimed to control the spread of misinformation, he said.

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