Prabowo Subianto holds a press conference at his home in Jalan Kertanegara, South Jakarta, on Wednesday afternoon. (B1 Photo/Fana Suparman)
Prabowo Asks His Supporters to Avoid Violence, Respect Law Enforcers
BY : CHRISTIAN LEE
MAY 22, 2019
Jakarta. Prabowo Subianto held a press conference on Wednesday afternoon in response to ongoing street protests that have been taking place in Jakarta over the past two days.
He called on members of law enforcement agencies to refrain from using violence against protesters and to ensure the safety of all.
"Brothers and sisters, we ask you not to ever hurt the people's hearts, especially to hit and shoot our own citizens. Let us ensure that the people are always peaceful and happy," Prabowo said at his residence in Jalan Kertanegara, South Jakarta.
The National Police have vowed not to carry firearms and live ammunition during the protest. However, police arrested on Wednesday several rioters armed with handguns and even a military-style rifle, equipped with silencer.
The former Army general also called on his supporters to avoid violence at all costs.
"To my supporters and anyone who still wants to listen to me, I repeat, avoid physical violence, act politely, respect law enforcers and never use violence," he said.
"It's difficult. I understand. But once again, if there is a misunderstanding and you are hit, do not retaliate. It's difficult, but we have to do it. Whatever happens, for the sake of the nation, the ummah, all religions, avoid violence," he added.
Prabowo reminded the military and police that they are also part of the nation.
"To my juniors, officials and officers in the Indonesian Army who are still active, I ask you to remember, that the uniforms, food and weapons you are using are paid for by the people. All of you belong to the people," the former general said.
Prabowo expressed concern that the events of the past two days may disrupt harmony in the nation.
"The violent events that unfolded last night and what happened at dawn, which has tarnished the nation's pride and dignity, should never happen again. If it happens again, we are very worried that the nation's harmony could be disrupted and it would be very difficult for us to restore it," he said.
Mass protests by Prabowo supporters against the result of the 2019 presidential election began in Central Jakarta on Tuesday, after the incumbent, Joko "Jokowi" Widodo, won 55.5 percent of the vote.
Clashes occurred late on Tuesday, allegedly instigated by a group seeking to sow chaos. Police said they are investigating the deaths of six protestors.
Police also seized an ambulance from Tasikmalaya, West Java, brandishing the emblem of Prabowo's Great Indonesia Movement Party (Gerindra). It was allegedly transporting rocks and sharp weapons used to attack riot police.