Police had ordered protesters in front of the Bawaslu office to go home, but hundreds stayed until the early hours of Wednesday. (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)

Anti-Riot Police Fire Tear Gas to Disperse Protesters in Central Jakarta

BY :TELLY NATHALIA

MAY 22, 2019

Jakarta. The police were forced to fire tear gas to disperse a few hundred protesters who refused to leave the street in front of the Election Monitoring Agency (Bawaslu) office in Central Jakarta just after midnight on Wednesday.

Central Jakarta deputy police chief Dep. Comr. Arie Ardian ordered the protesters to go home three times but they insisted to stay, forcing anti-riot officers to fire tear gas into the crowd.

The protesters fought back by throwing rocks, glass bottles and firecrackers.

The protesters are supporters of losing presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto, who has refused to concede defeat despite the General Elections Commission (KPU) announcing a win for his rival, incumbent President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo, in the early hours of Tuesday. 

A large crowd had been gathering in front of the Bawaslu office since mid-day on Tuesday.

Some of them returned home around 9 p.m., but the hundreds who stayed started acting in provocative fashion. 

Police announced earlier that the protesters will be allowed to stay on the streets only until the Ramadan evening prayer.

The remaining protesters provoked security officers and some of them tried to enter the Bawaslu office, but failed.

Police rounded up some of the protesters, but have released no details of the arrests.

Anti-riot police had to shoot tear gas at least twice as they went after a group of protesters who barricaded themselves under the Tanah Abang Market underpass.

"You have violated the law by resisting law enforcement officers," Arie warned the crowd.

Residents in the surrounding area were urged by officers to stay inside their houses. Many of them have barricaded alleys leading into residential areas.

Police are still trying to disperse protesters in the Tanah Abang area at the time this article is being written. 

Some of them had started a fire by burning objects near the Tanah Abang market. Firefighters are still working to extinguish the fire.

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