Police to remain on alert for election-related protests until May 25

Indonesian protesters (R), mainly supporters of presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto, stage a demonstration against alleged voting fraud in the recent Indonesian election in Jakarta on May 10, 2019. – Firebrand ex-general Prabowo Subianto has rejected a dozen so-called quick counts that say Indonesian president Joko Widodo was re-elected by a comfortable margin. (Photo by GOH CHAI HIN / AFP)
Indonesian protesters (R), mainly supporters of presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto, stage a demonstration against alleged voting fraud in the recent Indonesian election in Jakarta on May 10, 2019. – Firebrand ex-general Prabowo Subianto has rejected a dozen so-called quick counts that say Indonesian president Joko Widodo was re-elected by a comfortable margin. (Photo by GOH CHAI HIN / AFP)

This morning’s surprise announcement by the General Election Commission (KPU) of the official results of the April 17 election may well rob momentum from the massive protests against the commission and the results that had been planned for tomorrow, but the National Police are not letting their guard down as it remains on alert for potential unrest and riots.

The National Police in Jakarta yesterday issued a circular for police precincts throughout the country to exercise heightened vigilance for election-related protests. In the circular, the police and security forces are told to remain on high-alert until May 25, which was the date that the KPU intended to officially announce the election results (following their planned delay of the original May 22 announcement date) before eventually deciding to announce them this morning.

Photo: Istimewa
Photo: Istimewa

“This is true,” National Police Spokesperson Dedi Prasetyo told Detik confirming the circular and its contents today.

Much of the police’s security precaution are being focused on the areas surrounding the KPU’s office in Menteng, Central Jakarta. Some 50,000 personnel are reportedly being deployed and major roadblocks have been set up around the area.

The National Police have urged the public not to protest the election result in Jakarta, having monitored protesters coming into the capital from as far away as Aceh, Kalimantan, and Sulawesi. The police’s main concern appears to be the potential for terrorists taking advantage of potential unrest to further sew the seeds of terror throughout the country.

“The [terror] culprits are close to the public. It’s not beyond possibility that [the terrorists] will join the masses [in protest], it will be difficult to detect them,” Dedi told Kompas yesterday.

Groups supporting Jokowi, who planned to stage a demonstration on May 22 to support KPU, say they are staying away from the KPU office in light of this morning’s announcement.

According to KPU’s official vote count, Jokowi and his running mate Ma’ruf Amin won the election by a 55.5 to 44.5 percent margin over Prabowo and his running mate Sandiaga Uno. While President Jokowi has not issued any statement regarding the result, Prabowo this morning, in a televised speech, urged his supporters to protest peacefully and “with no violence whatsoever.”

Ever since the April 17 election, members of Prabowo’s campaign and his supporters have claimed that Jokowi’s impending victory is the result of widespread and systemic election fraud. Prabowo’s allies within the opposition have also stoked fears of rioting to protest the outcome of the election, particularly his senior adviser Amien Rais, who popularized the term “people power” to refer to grassroots streets protests that will supposedly erupt against the government for their alleged election fraud against Prabowo.

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