5 Things You Should Know About The Deadly Riots In Jakarta

The riots were sparked by the Indonesian election results.

Cover image via Malaysiakini

Violent riots broke out in Jakarta following the announcement of Indonesia's election results on Tuesday, 21 May

According to The Straits Times, the unrest was in protest of the declaration that President Joko Widodo had defeated his rival Prabowo Subianto in last month's presidential election. 

Prabowo has since refused to concede defeat, and vowed to file a legal challenge after claiming there was election fraud.

Here's what we know so far:

1. At least eight people have been killed in the riots, and over 700 injured

Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan (left)

Image via The Jakarta Post

According to The Jakarta Post, the death toll was revealed by Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan yesterday, 23 May. 

"The latest death toll is eight people... 737 people have received medical treatment at hospitals around this area," Anies was quoted as saying by The Jakarta Post. 79 of the victims suffered serious injuries from the riots.

The governor refused to reveal the causes of deaths pending investigation into the brutal unrest. Nonetheless, Jakarta police spokesman Sr. Comr. Argo Yuwono said four of the victims died of stab wounds.

2. The unrest was reportedly orchestrated by a militant group that had pledged support for ISIS

Image via Malaysiakini

theSun reported that several rioters out of the 300 arrested by local police are believed to be members of Garis – a group that had pledged support for the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). 

"We have identified the leaders of the group and hunting them, they are also found to be planning attacks on police premises," Indonesian National Police spokesman Muhammad Iqbal was quoted as saying by theSun yesterday. 

"They intended to carry out jihad during 21 and 22 May protests," he added.

3. Both the police and the military did not use a single live bullet in controlling the riots

Image via SCMP

South China Morning Post reported that Indonesia's police chief, Tito Karnavian, decided to not arm officers with live bullets throughout the two-day riots – to avoid a scenario where authorities get blamed for any deaths in the crowd. 

On top of that, Tito revealed that the riots were premeditated after seizing IDR6 million (approximately RM1,732) along with an M4 carbine semi-automatic gun that was complete with a silencer and several rounds of bullets. 

"There is an effort to provoke, to create martyrs, blame the authorities and invoke public anger," Tito said, according to Malaysiakini

4. The last of the protesters dispersed early yesterday

Image via SCMP

According to Malaysiakini, police spokesman Dedi Praseyto said that the protesters dispersed by 7am yesterday.

There were three groups of mass demonstration:

- The first group demonstrated peacefully,
- The second group, originating from outside of Jakarta, aimed to riot and trigger unrest, and
- The third group was perpetrated by ISIS. 

5. While the violence has subsided, eight countries have issued a travel advisory for Indonesia

The Straits Times reported that the countries include:

- Malaysia,
- Thailand,
- Singapore,
- Philippines,
- Canada,
- United States,
- England, and
- Australia. 

However, Governor Anies has since reassured citizens that Jakarta is now safe.

"Don't be afraid to go anywhere because Jakarta is safe... the situation is relatively calm, so I suggest all Jakartans to run their daily activities as normal," the governor said, according to Tempo.

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