Clashes reported as police act to disperse protesters

Indonesian police prepare tear gas launchers to disperse protesters during a demonstration outside the Elections Oversight Body in Jakarta on May 22, 2019.
Indonesian police prepare tear gas launchers to disperse protesters during a demonstration outside the Elections Oversight Body in Jakarta on May 22, 2019.PHOTO: AFP

JAKARTA • Minor clashes were reported in the evening yesterday as police tried to disperse about 2,000 protesters who had gathered at the headquarters of election supervisory agency Bawaslu, an independent agency tasked to oversee elections and rule on disputes.

The violence followed the release earlier in the day of official results for last month's elections.

Tight security at the headquarters of the General Elections Commission (KPU), with barbed wire ringing both ends of the only access road to the building, deterred all protesters.

Unlike the KPU, however, the Bawaslu headquarters is located on a main road with multiple access roads, with hotels, a shopping centre and government offices nearby. Blocking complete access to the headquarters is not possible.

Amid fears that Islamist groups would mount protests following the election results, police said yesterday that some of those heading towards Jakarta from other regions had bad intentions, and that street rallies, which are expected to intensify today, were organised and the mobilisation of protesters well-planned.

Wahyudi Soeriaatmadja

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 22, 2019, with the headline 'Clashes reported as police act to disperse protesters'. Print Edition | Subscribe