National Police chief Gen. Tito Karnavian displays a rifle and silencer confiscated by security forces. (Antara Photo/Dhemas Reviyanto)

Police Probe Jakarta Governor's Claim That Six People Died in Clashes During May 22 Protest


MAY 22, 2019

Jakarta. Police are investigating a claim by Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan that six people have been killed in clashes with the security forces in Jakarta since Tuesday night.

There were at least two clashes between protestors and police in Central and West Jakarta early Wednesday. Police used tear gas and water cannons to control the crowd after protestors started pelting them with rocks, glass bottles and firecrackers.

Anies made the claim while visiting the Thamrin area in Central Jakarta, where the offices of the Election Supervisory Agency (Bawaslu) are located, to observe security measures taken in anticipation of a mass protest rally against the results of this year's presidential and legislative elections.

National Police chief Gen. Tito Karnavian confirmed the deaths, but said the circumstances were not known yet.

"I also received a report from the head of the National Police's medical unit; the information was that six people have died. I was informed that some of them had been shot, while others were killed by blunt force trauma. This is what we have, to verify where [they were killed] and the cause [of death]," Tito said in Jakarta on Wednesday afternoon.

He urged the public to refrain from jumping to conclusions, as the security forces have found several lethal weapons that provocateurs were planning to use to shoot people in the crowd gathering in front of the offices of Bawaslu and the General Elections Commission (KPU).

"There are groups that want to 'play' on May 22. Do not make direct assumptions, because there are efforts to provoke the people and create martyrs; this is calculated to trigger public anger and then blame the security apparatus," Tito said after a meeting between senior security officials at the offices of the Coordinating Ministry for Political, Legal and Security Affairs in Jakarta.

Police have detained several people since Sunday for attempts to smuggle various weapons, including handguns and at least one military-style rifle, equipped with a silencer.