There must be a déjà vu among the many Jakarta who have witnessed and endured the horror of the riots of May 1998, after seeing the wave of acts of violence that has enveloped the city since Tuesday evening. What happened in the last two days certainly could not compete with the tragedy 21 years ago, but the two events have much in common, particularly in spreading fear.
The schools that closed, the employees who had been told to go home very early and the wholesale market in Tanah Abang, one of the capital's busiest shopping malls, ceased operations, reflecting a sense of anxiety. despite the presence of police and military personnel. Circulating news and graphs related to the disorders, motivated or not, have exacerbated the loss, forcing the government to limit public access to popular social media platforms in order to protect people from cheating.
Clashes between security personnel and those protesting against the result of the presidential election, initially outside the office of the Electoral Surveillance Agency of Jl. MH Thamrin and later moving towards Tanah Abang and its vicinity. The crowd attacked a police dormitory and set fire to a dozen cars parked nearby, while reports of protesters dying from gunshot wounds became viral. Thanks to the police management of the protesters, the riots of May 1998 were not repeated.
Addressing a press conference, President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo claimed security and the order was restored and the law would be strictly enforced against those who were behind the riots. It sounds like a cliché, but such a statement is necessary to convince the public that the state is present to protect the entire nation.
We cannot refrain from condemning the use of violence in the last demonstrations to reject the election result, which showed the incumbent, President Jokowi, and his team-mate Ma & r; ruf Amin who won the tender with 55.5 percent of the votes compared to their competitors Prabowo Subianto and Sandiaga Uno. The General Electoral Commission announced the result at the beginning of Tuesday, when almost everyone, including Prabowo supporters, expected it to happen on Wednesday.
Prabowo insisted on challenging the counting of official votes, which he said was the result of massive cheating, at the Constitutional Court. He urged his supporters to refrain from "unconstitutional" ways of protesting, but only after the damage was done and lives were lost later Wednesday he spoke against the violence.
There is no justification for any use of violence, not only because it will only generate more violence but also because it will betray our commitment to our nascent democracy. Having seen the generally peaceful elections with a high record electoral participation of over 80%, we cannot accept the democratic process that ends with violence.
At the end of the day, the political art of the political class is important. We should praise the Democratic Party and the National Mandate Party (PAN), which were part of the Prabowo coalition, for accepting the election result. Prabowo's option for a legal battle is equally legitimate, although it will ease the tensions quickly if the Democrats and PAN initiative follows.
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