Jakarta. Police have banned all mass gatherings planned to coincide with the Jakarta gubernatorial election on Wednesday (19/04) to maintain security and facilitate free access to polling stations.
The prohibition was issued in a notice signed by Jakarta Police chief Insp. Gen. M. Iriawan, Jakarta Election Commission (KPUD) chairman Sumarno and Jakarta Election Supervisory Agency (Bawaslu) chairwoman Mimah Susanti.
"We have issued this notice for election day to maintain peace," Jakarta Police spokesman Sr. Comr. Raden Prabowo Argo Yuwono said on Monday.
Police will prevent residents from traveling to polling stations en masse to curb any actions aimed at intimidating voters.
The measure will also allow police and Indonesian Military (TNI) personnel to check voters' identity cards to turn back those not registered as Jakarta residents.
If groups ignore the ruling, police officers will charge offenders in accordance with the law, the letter said.
Argo said 13,034 polling stations will be secured across the capital on election day, and that at least one police officer and one member of the military will be deployed at each location.
"Residents should not come to only monitor activities at polling stations. I'm afraid that will only affect voters, making them feel scared or intimidated," Argo said.
The notice was issued in response to the so-called "Al Maidah Picnic" mass gathering, planned for Wednesday. It is organized by Gerakan Kemenangan Jakarta, or the Jakarta Victory Campaign.
Promotional posters for the gathering have been widely shared on social media and messaging apps in recent weeks, urging non-Jakarta residents to visit polling stations and "supervise" voting on election day.
Incumbent Governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama and his running mate, Deputy Governor Djarot Saiful Hidayat, will face off against former education minister Anies Baswedan and businessman Sandiaga Uno, after neither candidate pair managed to secure more than 50 percent of the vote in the first round of the gubernatorial election on Feb. 15.
Concerns have been mounting over religious and ethnic sentiments surrounding the runoff election, with Muslim hardliners demanding that Ahok step down and voters not re-elect him.