Indonesian protesters disperse after unrest

JAKARTA (Reuters): Calm returned to the streets of the Indonesian capital on Thursday after a second night of clashes between security forces and protesters angry about the outcome of last month’s election, which handed President Joko Widodo a second term. Downtown areas of Jakarta became a battlefield overnight, with police firing tear gas and rubber bullets and protesters throwing rocks and firecrackers.

Protesters also tore up pavement slabs, destroyed street signs and set ablaze food stalls and a security post. The unrest followed Tuesday’s announcement by the General Election Commission confirming that Widodo had beaten his challenger, former general Prabowo Subianto, in the April 17 poll. The violence began on Tuesday night with six killed, and two more killed on Wednesday night, officials said.

Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan said the dead included three teenagers, and 737 people were injured in the rioting, mostly in the central neighborhood of Tanah Abang. But the ranks of protesters thinned over Wednesday night and police spokesman Dedi Praseyto said the last dispersed by 7 a.m. Roads quiet on Wednesday as office workers stayed away from the city center were busy with traffic again on Thursday. City workers in orange overalls swept up debris.

Widodo won more than 85 million of the 154 million votes cast but Prabowo has alleged “massive cheating and irregularities” and refused to concede defeat. The election agency has said there was no evidence of systematic cheating and independent observers have said the poll was free and fair. Elsewhere, a mob burnt a police station on Madura island, northeast of the main island of Java, while two police posts were set ablaze in Pontianak on Borneo island, media said.