JAKARTA — Calm returned to the streets of Jakarta on Thursday after clashes between police and supporters of the losing candidate in Indonesia’s presidential election.
The government has deployed tens of thousands of police officers to deal with violence that spread over two nights. The violence has left at least seven people dead and more than 200 injured.
President Joko Widodo won re-election by defeating former army general Prabowo Subianto by a margin of 55% to 45%, but Prabowo is planning to challenge the result Thursday in the Constitutional Court. He alleged massive fraud but provided no credible evidence.
Widodo has rejected the post-election violence and said he will not tolerate anyone disturbing the country’s democratic process.
“We will not give any space for riots, especially those who will damage Indonesia,” he told reporters.
National Police spokesman Dedi Prasetyo told VOA that protests turned violent Tuesday night and continued into Wednesday. Dozens of people were arrested.
Speaking to reporters late Wednesday, Prabowo expressed his condolences for those 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 [are] 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 spokesman Argo Yuwono told VOA that at least 50,000 police had been deployed in anticipation of the planned protests.