Thousands of protesters in Indonesia’s capital Jakarta clashed with upwards of 50,000 police and military personnel as the nation’s highest court supported the outcome of last month’s presidential election.
The losing presidential candidate, Prabowo Subianto, alleged that the election was plagued with fraud that he had been cheated out of victory. Indonesia’s Constitutional Court ruled against Subianto’s claim, confirming Joko Widodo as Indonesia’s president-elect.
Indonesia is Southeast Asia’s largest economy. It is also a fledgling democracy, having been ruled by for 31 years, until 1998, by Suharto.
In the run up to the constitutional court’s announcement of its ruling, thousands peacefully protested in support of Prabowo Subianto.
However, as it became apparent that Subianto was determined to have lost the elections, the protests quickly turned violent.
Demonstrators used four trucks to try to ram through barriers prompting a police response and a lockdown of several neighborhoods in Jakarta.
Many of the protesters are alleged to be paid professionals bussed into the city to give the impression of a public outcry.
As the protests escalated, the police and military had to resort to using tear gas and mass arrests to maintain order.
President-elect Widobo is seen as a reformer in the country newly dedicated to rooting out corruption. He is the first politician in Indonesia not to have ties to the past dictatorship.
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