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DFAT warning as riots convulse Indonesia after election

May 24, 2019 Headline News No Comments Email Email

The Australian government has warned travellers to Indonesia, including Bali, after widespread rioting by supporters of the losing candidate in the general election, former General Prabowo Subianto, who now want revenge after six protesters were killed on Tuesday night.

The dead included a 15-year-old boy who was apparently shot in the head, ABC News reported.

The world’s largest Muslim-majority country has just re-elected its president – but many supporters of opposition leader Prabowo Subianto refuse to accept the result, even though it appears to have been a clear win for President Joko Widodo, with a margin of about 17 million votes.

Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) said the violence had followed the Indonesidan Electoral Commission’s (KPU) announcement of the results of the Indonesian presidential and legislative elections on 21 May 2019.

“Violent clashes between protesters and security forces continued into the evening and overnight 22-23 May, in central Jakarta in the Tanah Abang, Jalan Wahid Hasyim and Slipi areas. Six deaths have been reported since 21 May,” DFAT said.

“Indonesian authorities advised there remains an increased risk of violence, including possible acts of terrorism. Demonstrations may continue throughout 23 May, particularly in the vicinity of the KPU office in Menteng, and the Election Supervisory Board (BAWASLU), and Tanah Abang, Jalan Wahid Hasyim and Slipi. Avoid these areas.

Indonesian policeman opens fire on rioters

“A number of public institutions, including public transport, cultural sites and some schools, remain closed. Further protests may take place in regional cities. Avoid protests, demonstrations and rallies, as these can turn violent without warning. Monitor local media for updates on protest activity.”

DFAT hasn’t changed the level of its advice –  “’Exercise a high degree of caution’ in Indonesia overall, including Bali. Higher levels apply in Poso Regency in Central Sulawesi and Papua Province.”

An Australian ABC News crew was set upon by a mob without warning on Wednesday and saved from serious injury or worse by unarmed Indonesian soldiers who ushered them to safety in a nearby hotel.

The ABC reported that a hashtag condemning the violence, #TidakAtasNamaSaya, which translates to “Not in My Name”, has gone viral on social media as moderate Indonesians condemn the actions of the rioters.

Prabowo is mounting a legal challenge to the election result, which is expected to be heard by Indonesia’s Constitutional Court on Thursday. He has urged all sides to refrain from more violence.

Written by Peter Needham

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