|According to media reports, the Indonesia policemen used tear gas and water cannons on Tuesday (October 6) to disperse demonstrators.
The demonstration that happened in the city of Serang in Banten Province is to protest against the newly introduced employment law.
Indonesian Protests Against Omnibus Law
Earlier, thousands of workers and students peacefully marched across the archipelago at the start of a three days national strike against President Joko Widodo’s Omnibus Job creation bill, which was passed into law by parliament on Monday.
Banten police spokesperson, Edy Sumardi Priadinata confirmed that the situation was under control and 14 protesters had been arrested. However, two policemen were injured by stones hurled at them during protests on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, another police spokesperson in Bandung, Erdi Adrimulan Chaniago said that the police has arrested at least 10 protesters. The police used tear gas against the demonstrators who threw stones and firecrackers.
In Jakarta, there was no significant demonstration as the police restricted the demonstration in order to avoid the spread of Covid-19.
President Joko Widodo championed the sweeping new legislation as the key to boost the competitiveness of Southeast Asia’s largest economy.
Critics say the legislation, which amends 79 existing laws and eliminates thousands of regulations, comes at the expense of weakened labour protection and relaxed environmental rules.
Despite mounting objections over fears, it would bring negative impacts to environment and labour rights, the government insist that the law was necessary. The government believes that it will improve bureaucratic efficiency to boost business and investments.
International Labour Union Write To President Jokowi
Global union federations have urged Indonesia President Joko Widodo to repeal the Omnibus law on job creation. According to them, the law will definitely undermine labour rights and strips away environmental protections, among other things.
The Building and Wood Workers’ International (BWI) also wrote to Jokowi to urge the government back to negotiation. They suggested the government to open a constructive dialogue with trade unions on the law.
Besides, the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) echoed on the sentiments of BWI. It restates that the government should withdraw the law and start a constructive discussion with the Indonesian Trade Union.
“It is staggering that while Indonesia is, like other countries, facing the devastation of the COVID-19 pandemic, the government would seek to further destabilize people’s lives and ruin their livelihoods so that foreign companies can extract wealth from the country,” the ITUC wrote in a statement.
Though meant to simplify regulations and attract investments, the law severely criticized for revising regulations that would affect multiple sectors. The law is significantly relaxing environmental standards for business activities by no longer requiring an environmental impact analysis.
The Rage of Indonesian Workers
An online petition to “Reject Omnibus Law On Job Creation and motion of no confidence in President has been launched. The petition is to demand the resignation of the President and House Speaker for failing the aspirations of Indonesian people.
As of writing, the petition on Change.org has received more than 1.3 million signatures.
As a result of this Omnibus Law, The Confederation of Indonesian Workers Unions said in a statement it would continue a planned three-day strike. They claimed that hundreds of thousands had left their factories on Tuesday.
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