Labor unions and university students have once again taken to the streets in Jakarta to protest against the Job Creation Law, this time expressing their discontent in conjunction with the commemoration of Youth Pledge Day on Wednesday.
Starting at 10 a.m., thousands of workers organized under the All-Indonesia Workers’ Union (SPSI) flocked to Jl. Medan Merdeka Barat, located around 1 kilometer from the Presidential Palace.
Dressed in black, they marched along the street, carrying a huge banner that read: “Protect the people, issue a Perppu [regulation in lieu of law] to revoke the omnibus law,” kompas.com reported.
The workers were joined in the afternoon by thousands of students under the National Association of University Student Executive Bodies (BEM SI).
Jakarta Police traffic director Sr. Comr. Sambodo Purnomo Yogo said authorities had readied some 20,000 personnel to safeguard the event and reroute traffic.
“We are deploying 10,000 personnel and have prepared an additional 10,000 for backup,” Sambodo said on Wednesday morning, as quoted by tempo.co.
Jakarta Police spokesperson Sr. Comr. Yusri Yunus urged protesters to remain peaceful, threatening that the security personnel would take stern action in response to any violence. He also urged protesters to strictly adhere to COVID-19 health protocol.
Wednesday marked the fourth week of protests against the Job Creations Law passed by the House of Representatives on Oct. 5. The government has shown no signs of giving in to the protesters’ demands.
Presidential expert staff member Dini Shanti Purwono said on Oct. 23 that the State Secretariat had completed the review of the law. She added that it was ready to be signed by the President, who argued the law was necessary to make Indonesia more economically competitive amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Critics had slammed the law, highlighting its rushed deliberation by the House that would make the process “unconstitutional”. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has raised concern over the lack of environmental protection in the law.
The Confederation of Indonesian Trade Unions (KSPI) has announced plans to continue nationwide protests until Nov. 10 and to request a judicial review of the law by the Constitutional Court. (nal)