Australians have been warned to rethink travel plans to Indonesia as political unrest in the nation’s capital escalates in the wake of the presidential election result.
Violent riots and clashes between protesters and police have taken over the streets of Jakarta since the election commission announced on Tuesday that President Joko Widodo had beaten former general Prabowo Subianto in the April 17 poll.
Six people have already died in the protests while another 200 have been wounded, according to Jakarta governor Anies Baswedan.
The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) has warned Australians planning to visit the country to ‘exercise a high degree of caution’ in Indonesia overall, including tourist hotspot Bali.
Those planning to visit Poso Regency in Central Sulawesi and Papua Province have been urged to reconsider their need to travel due to heightened safety and security risks.
‘Indonesian authorities have advised there is an increased risk of violence, including possible acts of terrorism,’ DFAT states on the Smart Traveller website.
Further demonstrations are planned in central Jakarta in the coming days, particularly in the vicinity of the electoral commission office in Menteng, and the Election Supervisory Board in Tanah Abang.
‘Avoid these protest areas. There are also protests planned in regional cities including Makassar and Surabaya,’ the website states.
‘A heavy police presence remains at the protest sites. Police continue to intercept protesters from regional areas.’
The website also warns Australian travellers to avoid protests, demonstrations and rallies, which can escalate into violence without warning.
DFAT had already issued a warning for Australians travelling to Bali, telling them to ‘pay close attention to your personal security at all times and monitor the media about possible new safety or security risks’.
Daily Mail Australia has contacted DFAT for further comment.
Several other countries have also issued travel warnings regarding Indonesia, including New Zealand, the US and UK.
The riots forced a number of public institutions, including cultural sites and schools to close on Wednesday.
Some of the protesters who arrived in central Jakarta on Wednesday carried wooden poles while others had smeared toothpaste around their eyes to protect themselves from tear gas.
Indonesian authorities say 40,000 police and army personnel are on duty across Jakarta to maintain security.
Most protesters appeared to have come from outside Jakarta and police found envelopes containing money on some of the people they searched, National Police spokesman Muhamad Iqbal told reporters.
‘This is not a spontaneous incident, this is something by design. There are indications that the mobs are paid and bent on causing chaos,’ he said.
Prabowo campaign spokesman Dahnil Azar Simanjuntak called on ‘all sides to hold back and not commit violence’.
Widodo won more than 85 million votes of 154 million cast in the world’s third-largest democracy.
However retired general Prabowo has alleged ‘massive cheating and irregularities’.