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Indonesian police fire tear gas at poll protesters

Indonesian police use tear gas and water cannon to disperse supporters of presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto during a protest near the Constitutional Court in Jakarta August 21, 2014. (REUTERS/Darren Whiteside)

JAKARTA: Indonesian police fired tear gas Thursday to disperse protesters trying to get close to a court set to rule on a challenge to the legality of last month's elections.

The protesters were supporters of Prabowo Subianto, who lost the polls.

Subianto, a former general with close links to the country's former dictator Suharto, has alleged massive fraud in the July 9 polls and filed a complaint at the Constitutional Court, which was due to rule on it later Thursday.

Witnesses said police fired the tear gas when protesters tried to get past barbed wire blocking a road leading to the court.

There were no immediate reports of injuries among around 300 protesters.

Police and legal experts said the court is highly unlikely to rule in Subianto's favor given the nature of evidence he has presented at the court so far and the number of votes he would have to have overturned to ensure victory.

That will ensure that the winner, former Jakarta Governor Joko Widodo, can be inaugurated in October and press ahead with his transition planning.

The election commission has declared Widodo the winner with 53 percent of the votes, more than 8 million more Subianto.

Subianto leads a coalition of political parties that control a majority of seats in the parliament, meaning that Widodo might have trouble pushing his agenda.

 

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