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Labourers, Students Reject Omnibus Law – Demonstrations at Merdeka Palace

Labourers, Students Reject Omnibus Law - Demonstrations at Merdeka Palace

Thursday 8th October is seeing a third and possibly final day of demonstrations held by labourers and university students across Indonesia to reject the Omnibus Law or Job Creation Law. Today, the demonstrators plan to protest outside the Merdeka Palace in Central Jakarta.

Chairman of the Confederation of the Indonesian Trade Union Alliance (KASBI), Nining Elitos said that demonstrations and strikes by labourers are the basic rights of every citizen. Demonstrators said that they are disappointed and angry with the ratification of the Omnibus Law during the Indonesian House of Representatives (DPR) Plenary Meeting on 5th October.

An appeal for all students in Indonesia from Sabang to Merauke to take part in the national action came with the following details:

Day and Date: Thursday, 8 October 2020

Time: 10am Western Indonesia Time (WIB)

Place: People’s Palace (Istana Rakyat)

The President of the Jakarta Labour Movement, Nugraha, said that since the DPR is currently in recess, the location of today’s action would be shifted from the DPR building in Senayan to the Merdeka Palace. He also said that during the action, labourers had one request: demanding the central government and the president to issue a regulation cancelling the Omnibus Law.

Nugraha assured that mass demonstrations would be carried out until the workers’ demands are heard and taken into consideration. They believe that a number of articles in the Omnibus Law are very detrimental.

However, it is reported that President Joko Widodo has left for Yogyakarta on Wednesday 7th October afternoon for the next few days for a work visit.

“A strike in this pandemic is also something that will cause our economy to deteriorate. We are currently recovering and trying to get up,”

said Donny Gahral Adian, the main expert staff of the Presidential Staff Office (KSP).

Donny gave a reminder that demonstrations could create crowds that could become a cluster of COVID-19 transmission. Instead, he suggested labourers should protest constitutionally by contesting the Omnibus Law at the Constitutional Court (MK).

Furthermore, the Secretary-General of KASBI, Sunarno, estimates that around 20,000 people from the labour, student, and civil society alliance will visit the Merdeka Palace today. The Indonesian Student Executive Board Alliance noted that students from 300 universities from around Jabodetabek, along with other regions such as Kalimantan, Sumatra, and Sulawesi will join as well.

The wave of rejection of the Omnibus Law has continued for two days since DPR Deputy Speaker Azis Syamsuddin tapped the hammer as a sign of ratification after obtaining unanimous approval from all plenary meeting participants. Labour groups, students, and civil society organisations in various regions took to the streets to urge the government to cancel the law.

Mass demonstrations have taken place in a number of areas across Indonesia: in Bandung, Bekasi, Tangerang, Bandar Lampung, Semarang, Yogyakarta, Makassar, and more.

Over the past three days, starting from 6-8th October, labour unions in various regions have held actions, initially planned to be centered in the DPR building. On the second day, demonstrations in several areas ended in chaos and resulted in injuries and damage to public facilities.

Source: Pikiran Rakyat, CNN Indonesia and Tribun News

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