Protests Against Indonesia’s Labour Law Turn Unruly

JAKARTA: A series of demonstrations against labour-related laws took place in several provinces in Indonesia today, including in the capital city.

The demonstrations also led to riots that caused damage to public property.

The demonstrations backed by university students and the Indonesian labour unions were in protest of the Omnibus Law on Job Creation passed by the Indonesian Parliament on Monday.

Local media reported that the demonstrations which started in a peaceful manner became unruly after police tried to disperse the crowd.

The demonstrations which began at 10 am also took place in several other cities in the country including Lampung, Bandung, Tangerang, Makassar, Yogyakarta and Surabaya.

The demonstrations were staged to protest against the labour law which they alleged violates workers’ rights, including reduction of compensation for retrenched workers, less annual leave, repeal of the minimum wage and amendments related to the rules of contract workers.

In Jakarta, thousands of protestors rallied in front of Istana Negara, in the Bundaran HE and Medan Merdeka areas, which then turned into riots after police fired tear gas and water cannon at protestors.

Protesters set fire to police beat base, damaged public property and threw objects and molotov cocktails at police officers.

Metro Jaya police public relations chief Yusri Yunus said, as of 7 pm, almost thousand protestors were detained for causing riots and damaging public property adding that they have successfully dispersed rallies in some areas.

Many are now worried that the demonstration will worsen the spread of the COVID-19 virus in the republic.

Based on the data published by the National Disaster Management Agency (BNPB) on its official twitter account @BNPB_Indonesia today, COVID-19 positive cases in the republic have increased to 320,564 cases with 11,580 fatalities recorded.