News Alerts

22 May 2019 | 02:00 PM UTC

Indonesia: Social media access limited May 22 amid election-related protests /update 7

Indonesia News Alert

Officials restrict social media features as political protests erupt in Jakarta May 22; at least six people killed as violent protests continue

TIMEFRAME expected from 5/22/2019, 12:00 AM until 5/29/2019, 11:59 PM (Asia/Jakarta). COUNTRY/REGION Jakarta, Indonesia

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Event

Indonesia's government announced on Wednesday, May 22, that it would limit access to social media platforms to prevent the proliferation of "provocations" and false media reports after election-related riots in Jakarta. Chief Minister for Security Wiranto indicated it would limit "certain features" on social media sites but did not elaborate further. 

Further clashes have been reported outside the Elections Supervisory Agency (Bawaslu) as of Wednesday evening (local time), as demonstrators threw projectiles at police, who responded with tear gas. The renewed clashes come after Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan announced at least six people have been killed and another 200 were wounded since Tuesday, May 21, during political protests in the capital. President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo said on Wednesday that the military and police would "carry out stern actions in accordance with the law" to address rioting in the capital.

Residual disruptions to commuter train service are to be expected throughout Jakarta, particularly around Tanah Abang, due to the protests. Train operators have implemented modified routes to avoid the demonstrations, which will remain in effect until at least 23:00 on Wednesday. Further disruptions to public transportation services are possible if the protests continue or escalate. 

Tensions remain high and further demonstrations are possible across Jakarta over the coming hours and days, along with further clashes between protesters and security forces. Associated political rallies may also take place in other cities throughout the country.

Context

The General Election Commission (KPU) announced on the night of May 21 that President Widodo won the April 17 elections after securing 55.5 percent of the vote. Opposing candidate Prabowo Subianto received 44.5 percent but has alleged there was widespread voter fraud and cheating. Prabowo's campaign team has said it will contest the election results in the Constitutional Court.

Demonstrations broke out on the night of May 21, in multiple parts of Jakarta, including near Tanah Abang and Jalan Wahid Hasyim in the Menteng neighborhood. Gunshots and explosions were heard at the Tanah Abang Market, where demonstrators clashed with riot police. A Mobile Brigade (Brimob) dormitory on Jalan KS Tubun in Slipi, West Jakarta, was attacked on Wednesday morning and several cars were lit on fire in the area. Police officers deployed tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse the crowds.

Heightened security measures were implemented throughout Jakarta in the days leading up to the announcement of the election results. Around 30,000 security personnel are present in Jakarta, along with armored vehicles and water cannons. A security cordon is in place around the KPU building on Jalan Imam Bonjol in the Menteng, and similar measures were extended to other government offices and buildings. Some schools and offices also closed as a precaution. 

Advice

Individuals in Jakarta, and Indonesia more generally, are advised to anticipate heightened security measures, protests, and transportation and telecommunication disruptions, adhere to instructions issued by local authorities, avoid all public demonstrations, and refrain from discussing politics in public or on social media.

 

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