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Jakarta Post

Protests against jobs law continue across the country, with some turning violent

  • Jon Afrizal, Apriadi Gunawan and Ivany Atina Arbi

    The Jakarta Post

Jambi, Medan and Jakarta   /   Thu, October 8, 2020   /   06:00 pm
Protests against jobs law continue across the country, with some turning violent An Islamic University of Riau student is carried on a stretcher after fainting as police officers forcefully disperse a rally against the controversial Job Creation Law in front of the Riau Legislative Council in Pekanbaru, Riau on Thursday. (Antara/F.B. Anggoro)

Rallies to protest against the contentious Job Creation Law have continued across the country three days after it was passed on Monday, with some turning violent as protesters clashed with police.

Hundreds of protesters in Malang, East Java pelted the Malang Legislative Council (DPRD) office with firecrackers and flares, setting fire to the front gate of the office.

Some protesters were seen climbing over the fence to further attack the property, as can be seen in a video tweeted by Persatuan Buruh's (Labor Unions) Twitter account on Thursday.

According to a kompas.com report, the police managed to disperse the crowd by firing tear gas. The protesters, however, opted not to surrender by continuing their orations in front of nearby Tugu hotel.

Similar scenes occurred in at least two other regions, namely Medan, North Sumatra and Jambi, where rally participants threw stones and plastic bottles at the local DPRD buildings, as well as the police officers who guarded the demonstrations.

Thursday’s protests were part of a three-day national strike against the Job Creation Law, which started on Tuesday.

Clashes between police and protesters also occurred in the previous two days, with dozens of rally-goers detained by police across the country

At least nine people were arrested in Bandung, West Java, and 14 others in Banten on Tuesday. Police also briefly detained 17 Manado State University students on Wednesday before releasing them.

Some protesters were also detained in Medan on Thursday for allegedly injuring at least three police officers. “Please, don’t be anarchistic. Some police personnel have fallen victim [to the violence],” Medan police officer Comr. Martuasah Tobing, told the crowd.

All the protesters demanded that the law, which many experts and activists have said is detrimental to labor rights and environmental protections, be revoked immediately. 

The government, meanwhile, has insisted that the law is necessary to improve bureaucratic efficiency and cut red tape, particularly in regard to business permits and investment.