The Jakarta Post
Protests against the controversial Job Creation Law descended into riots in some parts of the capital city on Thursday, as a number of facilities were set ablaze by unidentified mobs and clashes between the police and protesters continued.
According to media reports, at least two Transjakarta bus shelters in Central Jakarta, at the Bundaran HI and Tosari stops -- located near the location of rallies at the Arjuna Wijaya monument, also known as the Horse Statue -- were damaged and burned on Thursday afternoon.
The building of the Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry on Jl. MH Thamrin was also damaged by stone throwers. At least two police posts, one located near the Horse Statue and another one at the Harmoni intersection near the State Palace, were also set ablaze, kompas.com reported.
It is not yet clear who set the facilities on fire.
As of 7 p.m., the police were still making attempts to disperse the mobs by firing tear gas around the Bundaran HI traffic circle.
Clashes between police personnel and protesters reportedly erupted again at the Harmoni intersection and the conditions remained tense as of 7 p.m. There had been trouble previously in the afternoon, with protesters hurling stones at police officers and the police firing rubber bullets, tear gas and water cannon to disperse the crowds.
Thursday saw the third day of nationwide protests against the controversial Job Creation Law, which was passed on Monday amid mounting opposition from activists who claim that it threatens workers’ rights and the environment.
Thousands of workers and university students staged rallies near the State Palace in Central Jakarta and urged President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo to issue a regulation in lieu of law (Perppu) to annul the contentious law.
The escalating tensions have led to restrictions on transportation services in Jakarta.
PT Transjakarta spokesperson Nadia Diposanjoyo said the city-owned bus service had stopped all operations at 4:30 p.m. to ensure the safety of its passengers and employees, as well as to protect its vehicle fleet.
“To anticipate any trouble, Transjakarta is stopping its services on all corridors, non-corridor services, health worker services, social assistance services and micro trans at 4:30 p.m.,” Nadia said in a written statement.
MRT operator PT MRT Jakarta also stopped its services to Bundaran HI MRT Station and Dukuh Atas Station, with the service only operating from Lebak Bulus Station in South Jakarta to Setiabudi Astra Station in Central Jakarta.
Kamaluddin also reported that two mini excavators for the MRT construction project were torched and a project fence was pulled down during the riots.
“The fires have been put out by the Jakarta Fire Department. We are waiting to remove the debris," he said. (aly)