President Joko 'Jokowi' Widodo urged all parties to exercise restraint, reminding them not to taint the holy month of Ramadan. (Antara Photo/Akbar Nugroho Gumay)

Jokowi Says He Will Not Tolerate Election Rioters

MAY 22, 2019

Jakarta. President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo said the government will not tolerate anyone orchestrating violence and sowing chaos in the country and called on all Indonesians to reconcile after mass protests over the past 24 hours turned violent and resulted in the deaths of at least six people. 

Mass protests since Tuesday against the results of the 2019 presidential and legislative elections have turned into open skirmishes in Jakarta's back alleys between groups of rioters and police. National Police chief Gen. Tito Karnavian said he received a report of six dead and hundreds wounded during the rioting and that police were investigating the cause.

Police also found evidence that the escalation was orchestrated, detaining 69 people and confiscating weapons, including several firearms. 

"The election is just an event in a long Indonesian journey. And as the head of state and the head of government I have an obligation to maintain political stability and security," Jokowi said in a televised statement from the State Palace on Wednesday. 



"It is prescribed in our constitution that all [election] disputes are resolved through the Constitutional Court," he said.

"I appreciate Mr. Prabowo [Subianto] for taking the dispute on the result of the presidential election to the Constitutional Court. I also believe the judges in the Constitutional Court will make their decision based on the facts," the president added.

Jokowi urged all parties to exercise restraint, reminding them not to taint the holy month of Ramadan.

"This is the month of Ramadan, a month full of blessings, that is full of forgiveness, a month full of love for our brothers and sisters of mutual respect. And it is our obligation as Muslims to do good deeds," he said. 

The president extended a conciliatory gesture to his political rivals, similar to what he did by meeting with Democratic Party executive Agus Yudhoyono earlier in the day.

"I open myself to anyone to work together to build this country; to advance this country," he said. 

Jokowi added that he had been working toward opening a line of communication with rival Prabowo, and that he sought to meet with the former Army general in person, but to no avail. 

The president said he would not hesitate to take strong action against anyone jeopardizing the national unity. 

"I do not tolerate anyone who disturbs security, who undermines the democratic process and who will disrupt unity in the country we love so much. Especially rioters," Jokowi said. 

"We will not give any room to rioters, who will damage our country, who will damage the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia," he said. 

The president also called on the people to remain calm and strive to preserve the national unity.

"I believe the situation is still under control. People don't need to worry. I invite you to knit back our relationship, let us knit back our brotherhood to weave back our harmony because Indonesia is our home," Jokowi said.