From Voice Of America
VOA’s Richard Green contributed to this report.
Indonesian President Joko Widodo says he will not tolerate anyone disturbing the country’s democratic process, after deadly clashes between police and supporters of Prabowo Subianto, the former army general who lost the recent election but is contesting the results.
Jakarta’s governor said at least six people were killed and more than 200 injured in the violence Wednesday.
“We will not give any space for riots, especially those who will damage Indonesia,” the recently re-elected President Widodo told reporters, adding that the police and military will take firm action “in accordance with the law.”
Authorities say protesters refused to disperse as police tried to persuade them to leave, saying that it’s Ramadan and they should refrain from committing violence during the holy month. The protesters even set fire to a police dormitory and vehicles.The police finally used tear gas to disperse the protesters.
National Police spokesman Dedi Prasetyo told VOA that protests turned violent Tuesday night and continued until early Wednesday. Dozens of people were arrested.
Widodo said the situation is now under control as he called on Indonesians to unite following the election.
Indonesia’s Election Commission on Tuesday confirmed that Joko Widodo, also known as Jokowi, was re-elected with 55.50% of the vote, defeating former army general Prabowo. The victory was confirmed by the General Elections Commission (KPU).
Prabowo, a four-time presidential candidate who is associated with the traditional political elite and hard-line Islamists, captured 44.50%. He has refused to accept the results and plans to challenge the election in the Constitutional Court on Thursday. He alleged massive fraud but provided no credible evidence.
Speaking to reporters late Wednesday, Prabowo expressed his condolences over the six people killed in the protests. “We support all moral and constitutional means that are peaceful and non-violent in this political fight for our nation. I plead to all elements who exercising their aspiration – the police, the armed forces and everyone else – to refrain themselves from acts of violence, or even verbal violence, anything that is provocative,” he said.
Earlier this week he had urged his supporters to show their support peacefully. “Our steps should be constitutional, democratic, peaceful, without any violence! Those who still believe in me and my friends here… we fight not for personal benefit, but for the sovereignty of the people, for democracy, for independent Indonesia, to be free from occupation in any form,” he said.
Jakarta police spokesmanArgo Yuwonotold VOA that at least 50,000 police had been deployed in anticipation of the planned protests.