After Indonesia's General Elections Commission (KPU) declared incumbent President Joko Widodo the winner of the country's 2019 presidential election in the early morning of Tuesday (21.05.2019), protesters started to gather - after noon - in Central Jakarta, specifically in and around Jl MH Thamrin where the office of the Election Supervisory Agency (Bawaslu) is located.
These protesters disapprove of the official election results as they support defeated presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto who claims massive fraud has influenced the official election results. While Subianto is reluctant to accept his defeat, two of his big coalition partners, namely the National Mandate Party (PAN) and democratic Party (PD), have congratulated Widodo on winning the election, implying these parties accept the official election results (which is yet another defeat for controversial former army general Subianto).
Initially, demonstrations went peacefully but when part of protesters failed to leave the area around the Bawaslu office after 20:00 pm local Jakarta time on Tuesday (as had earlier been agreed upon by both sides), the situation turned less peaceful in the following hours. Starting from around 22:00 pm on Tuesday evening protesters started throwing rocks and bottles to police. Police responded with teargas. These clashes continued into the early hours of Wednesday (22.05.2019). Reportedly, six people died in these clashes, while 200 others were injured.
On Wednesday morning (around 10:00 am local Jakarta time) local news agency Kompas showed live images of new clashes in the Tanah Abang area. Therefore, the Tanah Abang train station is temporarily closed.
As we emphasized on Tuesday (21.05.2019), we continue to urge people (particularly non-Indonesians) to avoid the center of Jakarta on Wednesday (22.05.2019), specifically the area around the Bawaslu office.
Below we provide updates of Wednesday's developments:
• [10:00 am] The Tanah Abang train station is temporarily closed because of clashes between protesters and police. Trains will not stop at this station and therefore people need to use other train stations - such as Duri, Sudirman, and Karet - if they need to travel by train.
• [13:00 pm] We have not heard reports of new clashes, hence matters seem conducive for now. However, we do expect to see more clashes later today (specifically after sunset when Muslims break the fasting). Meanwhile, PAN Chairman Zulkifli Hasan visits Widodo for a meeting. Earlier today, Agus Yudhoyono had already met Widodo (replacing his father Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, Chairman of PD, who remains in Singapore where his wife is being treated for cancer). Over the past couple of days there has emerged rising speculation that PAN and PD want to leave the Subianto coalition and join Widodo's coalition.
• [13:15 pm] Based on TV images, we estimate that some 2,000 protesters have gathered near the Bawaslu office in Central Jakarta. But the crowd is expected to become bigger.
• [14:00 pm] In Slipi (West Jakarta) a mass is throwing stones at security personnel and burning tires on the street. Several buses were destroyed.
• [14:15 pm] In a press conference, Coordinating Ministry for Political, Legal, and Security Affairs Wiranto informs that the government has limited people's access to social media in order to avoid the spread of fake news on these social media platforms. These fake news stories aim at igniting hatred among Subianto supporters. Meanwhile, National Police spokesperson M. Iqbal said "58 people have been detained suspected of being provocateurs of the riots on Tuesday evening and early Wednesday morning. There are indications that these rioters were mostly from outside Jakarta and were paid to riot." Indonesian police also found an ambulance with a political party logo [Gerindra] that was filled with rocks and other tools, implying that these riots were planned.
• [15:25 pm] The Indonesian rupiah depreciates to its weakest position so far in 2019, at IDR 14,528 per US dollar.
• [16:20 pm] Jalan MH Thamrin - where the Bawaslu office is located - is filled with thousands of protesters. However, matters remain conducive and nearby shopping malls are open as usual.
• [16:30 pm] President Widodo urges Indonesians to unite but also reminds the public that authorities will act swiftly against rioters. Meanwhile, defeated candidate Subianto reminds people to demonstrate in a peaceful manner.
• [17:11 pm] Police announce that 99 provocateurs have been arrested in West Jakarta. Live images at Kompas TV show clashes between rioters and police are still going on in Slipi (West Jakarta). Rioters throw stones and other materials to police.
• [18:30 pm] As expected, clashes started shortly after darkness fell. Television images show rioters near the Bawaslu office throwing materials at police. Also in Slipi (West Jakarta) clashes between security personnel and rioters continue.
• [20:00 pm] Indonesian police say a total of 257 rioters have been arrested today.
For more detailed reports we refer you to our research reports. For example the April 2019 report contains an elections special that discusses Indonesia's political system, the run-up to the 2019 elections, developments on Election Day, and much more. Meanwhile, an update on the KPU data and developments after 21 May 2019 is available in our May 2019 edition. You can purchase these reports by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or a WhatsApp message to the following number: +62(0)8788.410.6944
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