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Lesson learned from Jakarta's post-election riot

Lesson learned from Jakarta's post-election riot

(Illustration) - The two presidential candidates Joko Widodo (Jokowi) and Prabowo Subianto (right). (Abd Rifai)

We call on community members to not become provoked
The General Elections Commission (KPU) had officially announced the final results of the recent parliamentary and presidential elections, showing the victory of the Joko Widodo (Jokowi)-Ma'ruf Amin pair on early Tuesday.

The final tally that the KPU announced at around 1:28 a.m. local time indicated the Jokowi- Amin pair had secured 85 million votes, or 55.5 percent of the national vote, as compared to contenders Prabowo Subianto-Sandiaga Uno's 68 million votes, or 44.5 percent.

The Jokowi-Amin pair had declared victory, while the Prabowo-Sandi pair rejected the KPU's official tabulation result and vowed to challenge it by filing an official complaint with the Constitutional Court (MK).

This unfinished political process has sparked a mass protest from the Prabowo-Sandi pair's supporters who alleged massive fraud in the presidential elections.

Several hundred sympathizers of the People's Sovereignty National Movement the held a peaceful rally in front of the Elections Supervisory Body (Bawaslu) in Jakarta's Central Business District (CBD) from Tuesday afternoon until evening.

The police allowed them to stage the rally until they finished performing Tarawih (evening prayers during the holy month of Ramadhan). As revealed by National Police spokesman Brig. Gen. Dedi Prasetyo, the peaceful demonstrators had left the place at around 9 p.m. local time Bawaslu building.

However, according to Prasetyo, two hours later, around 100 people again gathered in front of the Bawaslu building and destroyed the barbed-wired barricades. Instead of leaving the scene, they instigated the police by throwing stones, wood, and Molotov cocktails at them.

Tensions arose and led to the occurrence of a riot in Tanah Abang area of Central Jakarta from Tuesday evening to early Wednesday.

As a result of this violent riot, Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan, who just returned from Tokyo, on Wednesday, confirmed that six people were killed. He was quoted by Elshinta Radio as saying that thorough investigation was necessary to find what had truly transpired in a bid to solve the problem.

He also appealed to all societal elements to cooperate, so that the political process can be conducted through legal procedures rather than through rioting on the street.

"I also appeal to security personnel to see to those looking to express their views as citizens. Please adhere to all procedures. The objective is to protect the people. Let us exercise self-restraint and maintain a peaceful situation," he informed Elshinta Radio.

The same message of peace is also echoed by House of Representatives Speaker Bambang Soesatyo by calling on security personnel who secure mass protest against the recent election results to exercise self-restraint and not to get provoked by provocateurs.

"That's the target of the stowaways who join the mass protest. They instigate the police to get angry and committed to the anarchy that leads to the occurrence of riots," he said.

He argued that the entire people do not want to see the occurrences of horizontal conflicts due to misunderstanding in responding to the election results.

For the security apparatus, despite their exhaustion, they were suggested to exercise their self-restraint in restoring the law and order in accordance with laws while, for the demonstrators, they were urged to express their aspiration peacefully and avoid anarchic acts.

He also called on the political elites and eminent persons of the nation to help maintain a conducive situation.

Muhammadiyah, Indonesia's second largest Muslim organization after the Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), also expressed its concern with the deadly riot.

In preventing the current situation from getting worse, this organization has urged the government to order security personnel to avoid violent acts that could lead to fatalities against the protesters of the recent election results.

The violent acts were not merely against humanity, state ideology Pancasila's second principle but they would potentially damage the government and law enforcers' image, Muhammadiyah Chairman Buya Anwar Abbas said in a press statement that ANTARA received on Wednesday.

Abbas said if the security personnel kept taking the repressive and brutal measures against the demonstrators, the stability of Indonesia's security would be disrupted.

As a result, the country's economy would also be affected because investors and businesspeople could not run their business activities smoothly and they would go away.

Hence, to prevent the current situation from worsening, Muhammadiyah calls on the government to take immediate and persuasive measures to restore the condition, he said.

In another development, it was reported that the Indonesian police had arrested over 62 people on grounds of allegedly inciting crowds to run riot in the Tanah Abang area.

"The provocateurs came from outside Jakarta. The Central Jakarta Metropolitan Police have now detained them, pending questioning," National Police spokesman Brig. Gen. Dedi Prasetyo stated.

Prasetyo noted that the police had earlier cautioned of "third parties" looking to further their devious plans through the mass protest.

"Hence, we call on community members to not become provoked," he stated.

Speaking in connection with a video widely circulating on different social media platforms showing the finding of bullet shell casings in the riot, Prasetyo was uncertain whether they were of the police.

Prasetyo noted that in spite of the fact that the policemen securing the Bawaslu building were unarmed, the police had still checked the video content.

"The policemen are not equipped with weapons and sharp bullets to secure the mass protest," he stated.

The riot that happened until Wednesday that had not merely claimed lives of six ordinary Indonesians -- but had also destroyed several vehicles -- is a lesson learned for both the government, security apparatus, and all elements in community members.

As Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan has suggested, the political process that still goes on until the Constitutional Court makes its final decision later should be conducted through legal procedures rather than through rioting on the street.


Related news: Constitutional Court ready to accept election dispute cases

Related news: Post-election rioting in Jakarta claims six, 20 provocateurs arrested

Related news: Riot-control police should desist from violence: Muhammadiyah



 

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