JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — Seven people have died in election violence in the Indonesian capital, police said Thursday, as calm returned to the city and the losing presidential candidate prepared the challenge the result in court.
The apparently orchestrated chaos that turned central Jakarta into a battleground started Tuesday night during peaceful protests over official results that confirmed President Joko Widodo had won the April 17 election, securing him a second term.
National police spokesman Muhammad Iqbal said several hundred have been arrested and seven deaths were confirmed. Police, who responded to the rioting with water cannons, rubber bullets and tear gas, deny using live ammunition.
The defeated candidate, former General Prabowo Subianto, who also lost to Widodo in 2014, has refused to accept the result and instead declared himself the winner.
Subianto and his campaign have alleged massive election fraud but not provided any credible evidence. They didn’t file a Constitutional Court challenge to the election result on Thursday as planned but have until Friday to do so.
The election supervisory agency earlier this week rejected Subianto’s complaint about the election’s integrity after the only evidence of fraud provided by his team was links to online articles.
The rioting in Jakarta was planned and not spontaneous and many of the several hundred arrested came from outside Jakarta, according to police.
Officers found an ambulance filled with stones and other weapons. Some of those arrested had envelopes containing 250,000-500,000 rupiah ($17-$34), said Jakarta police chief Argo Yuwono. The minimum wage in Jakarta is about $9 a day.
The government has deployed about 50,000 police and soldiers in Jakarta. Many residents have left the city and parts of the downtown are closed to traffic, with the election supervisory agency and Election Commission barricaded with razor wire.