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Jakarta Post

Police criticized for violently dispersing labor protest

  • The Jakarta Post

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Sun, November 1, 2015   /  03:01 pm

Labor activists have pointed fingers at the Jakarta Police for allegedly committing violent acts when they tried to disperse a labor protest from in front of the State Palace in Central Jakarta, on Friday.

'€œThe police have committed violence against our friends '€” Tigor Gempita Hutapea and Obed Sakti Luitnan '€” and 23 workers during Friday'€™s rally. The police failed to apply human rights standards. They, instead, triggered the clash,'€ Alghiffari Aqsa, the Jakarta Legal Aid Foundation (LBH Jakarta) director, said in a press release on Saturday.

Thousands of workers from Greater Jakarta staged a street rally on Friday, demanding the revocation of the newly issued Government Regulation (PP) No. 78/2015 that stipulates the calculation of the annual minimum wage increase by using the current fiscal year'€™s inflation and gross domestic product (GDP) growth rates. They also called for a wage increase of 22 to 25 percent next year.

The rally ended with a clash between protesters and the police.

Alghiffari explained that the clash broke out at 8 p.m. when the police started to beat a number of protesters who refused to end their action. The police also hit Tigor and Obed, who at that time were documenting the rally using their mobile phones.

Alghiffari said Tigor and Obed tried to explain that they were from LBH, which was assisting the alliances. However, the police ignored them and dragged them over to the police cars along with 23 protesters.

Both activists suffered from wounds and bruises to their heads and stomachs.

The All-Indonesia United Workers Confederation (KPBI) said in a press statement that the police had allegedly committed violence against the workers and had vandalized three command cars, while the protesters had not committed any provocations or attacks against them.

Both LBH Jakarta and the KPBI demanded the Jakarta Police, particularly the chief, Insp. Gen. Tito Karnavian, to release the protestors and activists and to take action against the personnel who had been involved in injuring the victims.

Responding to the matter, Jakarta Police spokesman Sr. Comr. Mohammad Iqbal said that the clash between the police and workers happened after the workers refused to disperse by 6 p.m.

He explained that as stipulated in the National Police chief decree No. 17/2012 on delivering opinions in public, a protest rally should stop by 6 p.m.

'€œWe gave them warnings several times, but they insisted on continuing the rally. They even said they wanted to stay over there,'€ Iqbal said, adding that the protesters provoked them by using the command cars.

He explained the police had to take stern action against the protesters because they kept refusing to disperse, although the police fired water cannons and tear gas at them.

Iqbal said the police released the arrested protesters and activists on Saturday afternoon.

However, he added that the police would still proceed with its investigation to find the culprits behind the clash. (agn)

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