Police fire tear gas to disperse crowds after Indonesia confirms president's re-election

Police fire tear gas to disperse crowds after Indonesia confirms president's re-election

Indonesian police fired tear gas on Wednesday to disperse protesters in central Jakarta following a rally held after official results showed President Joko Widodo had been comfortably re-elected, a Reuters witness said, Trend reports.

The General Election Commission (KPU) confirmed unofficial counts by private pollsters in the April 17 election, which gave Widodo a 55.5% share of votes against 44.5% for his opponent Prabowo Subianto.

Widodo won more than 85 million votes of a total of 154 million cast in the world’s third-largest democracy, but Prabowo told reporters he believed there had been widespread cheating and about 1,000 supporters gathered in Jakarta.

The rally ended peacefully but later Indonesian police fired tear gas as some protesters hurled fireworks and other objects at officers in riot gear in a main street in the capital, TV footage showed.

Prabowo, a retired general, pledged he would “continue to make legal efforts in line with the constitution to defend the mandate of the people”.

Sufmi Dasco Ahmad, the legal director of Prabowo’s campaign team, confirmed it planned to contest the result in the Constitutional Court.

On Monday, an election supervisory agency dismissed claims of systematic cheating, citing a lack of evidence. Independent observers have said the poll was free and fair.

Flanked by riot police, Prabowo’s supporters had earlier gathered mainly at the election supervisory agency (Bawaslu) in the heart of the city’s commercial and government district.

There was also a small rally at the KPU in support of the election commission.

Chief Security Minister Wiranto told a briefing there had been plans for “massive demonstrations to storm the KPU, Bawaslu, parliament and the state palace”.

He threatened severe punishment for criminal activity and vowed to maintain security, while denying authorities were being draconian.

The KPU announced official results more than a day earlier than expected after working into the early hours of Tuesday, a move that meant the announcement came before planned protests.

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