Protest clogs Jakarta as Prabowo disputes Joko poll victory

Supporters of Indonesian presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto at a rally outside the Elections Supervisory Agency building in Jakarta on May 10, 2019.
Supporters of Indonesian presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto at a rally outside the Elections Supervisory Agency building in Jakarta on May 10, 2019.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

JAKARTA (BLOOMBERG) - Thousands of people rallied in Jakarta on Friday (May 10) to protest against the preliminary results of last month's presidential election that show Mr Joko Widodo has won a second term as president.

The rally, held in front of the nation's election supervisory agency, came as presidential challenger Prabowo Subianto continues to dispute the result of the April 17 vote.

The government as well as independent observers have rejected the former general's allegations of widespread voter fraud.

Mr Prabowo, who alleged there was "blatant" cheating as well as collusion between Mr Joko, popularly known as Jokowi, and election authorities, had warned of unrest earlier in the week.

He stopped short of openly encouraging people to take to the streets in protest.

MILITARY MOBILISED

Thousands of police and military were mobilised on Friday in anticipation of the rally, which came after Friday prayers.

 
 
 

The protest caused traffic chaos in front of the election agency, which is on Jakarta's main thoroughfare and close to high-end shopping malls and the central bank.

It was the largest election-related rally in Jakarta since polling day, although small in comparison to the political unrest that has flared in the capital in recent years.

In 2016, hundreds of thousands of people protested in the capital in a series of mass demonstrations that targeted Mr Joko's ally, then governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama.

While election authorities are yet to announce the official result of the April 17 election, the count as it stands shows Mr Joko with a strong lead, mirroring a raft of unofficial quick counts from independent pollsters.

Election authorities have until May 22 to release official results.