Tag: Indonesia

Indonesia Islamic groups, students join movement to scrap jobs law

JAKARTA (Reuters) – Wearing white Islamic garb and waving red and white Indonesian flags, more than 1,000 protesters from Islamic and student groups gathered in the world’s most populous Muslim nation on Tuesday to show discontent over a divisive new jobs law.

Conservative Islamic groups are among the latest to join the volatile street demonstrations, during which police fired tear gas on Tuesday to try to break up crowds, as pressure mounts on the government to repeal a law they say undermines labour rights and environmental protections.

The country’s largest Islamic organisation, Nahdlatul Ulama, is among its opponents and says it favours conglomerates while “trampling” on the rights of working-class Indonesians.

Hamdan, a 53-year-old teacher who goes by one name, said he would keep protesting until the law was repealed.

“People can’t go out, some people can’t even eat and unemployment is still high,” he told Reuters in Jakarta. “Even my son still can’t find a job.”

Protests against the so-called omnibus law took place in multiple locations involving thousands of Indonesians last week, some of which saw streets blocked, tyres burned and rocks hurled, leading to more than 6,000 people being detained.

“The bill will definitely affect myself, my job, my relatives, my friends and everything,” said engineer Rafi Zakaria, 30.

“It doesn’t only affect labourers. Our students here joined the protest because they’re concerned about their parents’ jobs.”

The law, designed to reduce red tape and attract investors, has yet to be published and the unofficial versions circulating in the media and online have led to speculation and confusion.

Deputy house speaker Azis Syamsyuddin told Reuters the law would be sent to the president and made public on Wednesday.

The government is standing by the legislation and President Joko Widodo has blamed the public outcry on disinformation. Indonesia’s defence minister has blamed the demonstrations on “foreign interference”.

“There are those who do not want to see Indonesia as conducive to investors, and want to always benefit from that,” the ministry spokesperson, Dahnil Anzar Simanjuntak, said, without elaborating.

(This story corrects name of deputy house speaker in paragraph 10 to Azis Syamsyuddin, not Achmad Baidowi)

Writing by Kate Lamb; Editing by Martin Petty

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Indonesia Islamic Groups, Students Join Movement to Scrap Jobs Law | World News

By Yuddy Cahaya Budiman and Agustinus Beo Da Costa

JAKARTA (Reuters) – Wearing white Islamic garb and waving red and white Indonesian flags, more than 1,000 protesters from Islamic and student groups gathered in the world’s most populous Muslim nation on Tuesday to show discontent over a divisive new jobs law.

Conservative Islamic groups are among the latest to join the volatile street demonstrations, during which police fired tear gas on Tuesday to try to break up crowds, as pressure mounts on the government to repeal a law they say undermines labor rights and environmental protections.

The country’s largest Islamic organization, Nahdlatul Ulama, is among its opponents and says it favours conglomerates while “trampling” on the rights of working-class Indonesians.

Hamdan, a 53-year-old teacher who goes by one name, said he would keep protesting until the law was repealed.

“People can’t go out, some people can’t even eat and unemployment is still high,” he told Reuters in Jakarta. “Even my son still can’t find a job.”

Protests against the so-called omnibus law took place in multiple locations involving thousands of Indonesians last week, some of which saw streets blocked, tyres burned and rocks hurled, leading to more than 6,000 people being detained.

“The bill will definitely affect myself, my job, my relatives, my friends and everything,” said engineer Rafi Zakaria, 30.

“It doesn’t only affect labourers. Our students here joined the protest because they’re concerned about their parents’ jobs.”

The law, designed to reduce red tape and attract investors, has yet to be published and the unofficial versions circulating in the media and online have led to speculation and confusion.

Deputy house speaker Achmad Baidowi told Reuters the law would be sent to the president and made public on Wednesday.

The government is standing by the legislation and President Joko Widodo has blamed the public outcry on disinformation. Indonesia’s defence minister has blamed the demonstrations on “foreign interference”.

“There are those who do not want to see Indonesia as conducive to investors, and want to always benefit from that,” the ministry spokesperson, Dahnil Anzar Simanjuntak, said, without elaborating.

(Writing by Kate Lamb; Editing by Martin Petty)

Copyright 2020 Thomson Reuters.

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Protests spread across Indonesia in opposition of omnibus jobs law

Oct. 8 (UPI) — Tens of thousands of people in Indonesia took part in the third day of protests against a sweeping law cutting protections for workers and the environment.

Riot police fired tear gas and water cannons at protesters in the nation’s capital, Jakarta, where authorities said they had detained more than 800 people as protesters defied a ban on gathering amid the COVID-19 pandemic and attempted to march on the presidential palace.

Protesters threw rocks at police and burned a police post and two transit stops, as leaders of a national strike said the violence was not affiliated with the labor action.

The protests were sparked by a 900-page omnibus bill amending more than 75 laws allowing companies to cut pay for workers, eliminate days off and hire contract workers.

It also relaxed environmental standards, only requiring businesses to file an environmental impact analysis for projects that are considered high risk.

The government said the law is designed to strengthen the economy amid negative impacts due to the pandemic by opening it to more foreign investment.

“We want to simplify the licensing and bureaucracy [process], we want speed, so a harmonization of law is needed to create speedy services, speedy policymaking so that Indonesia would be faster to respond to every world change,” President Joko Widodo told the BBC.

A coalition of 15 activist groups, including trade unions, have opposed the bill and called on workers to join a national strike.

“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,” said Sharan Burrow, general secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation.

Organizers said protests have been held in more than 60 locations and that about 1 million people have participated in walkouts each day.

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Protesters torch police posts as opposition mounts to new Indonesia law

Thousands of protesters set fire to barricades and police posts in the Indonesian capital Thursday as opposition mounted to a controversial new investment law critics say will harm labour rights and the environment.

Tens of thousands of people have protested in cities across the archipelago since Monday’s passing of the bill, which seeks to attract foreign investment by cutting red tape around taxation, labour and environment regulations.

Labour activists and green groups have slammed the legislation, however, with Amnesty International saying it is “catastrophic” for workers.

Nearly 13,000 police deployed Thursday to block access to government buildings in central Jakarta failed to stop protesters from making their way to the heart of the capital.

The protesters set fire to barricades and torched several bus stops and police traffic posts.

Police had banned the protests on the grounds it could spread the coronavirus. At least 300,000 people have been infected in the world’s fourth most-populous nation so far, and more than 11,000 have died.

Experts believe the true figures are much higher, however, but hidden by a lack of testing.

– Protesters with coronavirus –

Jakarta police spokesman Yusri Yunus said around 1,000 protesters had been tested since being detained by Thursday.

Some “34 of them are reactive for Covid-19”, he said, adding they would be isolated and tested again.

Workers and students also clashed with police in Makassar, Medan, Malang and Yogyakarta.

“We want the law to be cancelled,” Muhammad Sidharta told AFP in Bandung, West Java, adding the regulation “hurts Indonesian people, not only workers like me”.

Although enforcement is sometimes patchy, Indonesia has tough labour laws — particularly involving foreign companies.

Edi, who like many Indonesians goes by only one name, said he joined protests in Makassar on Sulawesi island because the law affected him as a worker.

“Earlier, we already had regulations on minimum wage but still many companies did not comply with it,” he said.

“The new law scraps the regulations on that and companies will determine wages arbitrarily.”

Indonesians also expressed their anger online, with hackers blocking access to parliament’s website and changing its name to “Council of Traitors”.

They also created an account on the Indonesia e-commerce platform Tokopedia and put parliament “on sale” for a pittance, according to media reports.

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Protests Spread Across Indonesia Over Jobs Law

JAKARTA, Indonesia — Riot police officers fired tear gas and water cannons in Indonesia’s capital on Thursday as they tried to disperse large crowds of people protesting a sweeping new law that slashes protections for workers and the environment.

In cities and towns throughout Indonesia’s vast archipelago, tens of thousands of workers took part in the third day of a national strike against the deregulation law. Workers marched on foot and rode in motorbike parades as sound trucks blared protest messages. Union leaders denounced Parliament and President Joko Widodo for pushing the measure through.

In the center of Jakarta, the capital, protesters assembled in defiance of a city ban on gathering during the pandemic and tried to march to the presidential palace. Some threw rocks at the police and set fires in the city center, burning a police post and two transit stops. The police said officers had detained more than 800 people in Jakarta, while leaders of the national strike distanced themselves from the violence and said that the city’s protests were not affiliated with the labor action.

Around the country, the strike has been largely peaceful, although protesters clashed with the police in some cities. Organizers said protests were held in more than 60 locations, stretching from Aceh Province in the west to Papua Province more than 3,000 miles east. They estimated that about one million people joined the walkouts each day, though that figure could not be verified.

Opponents of the new statute, a 905-page omnibus measure that amends more than 75 laws, say that it benefits the wealthy elite by allowing companies to cut workers’ pay, eliminate days off and hire contract workers in place of permanent employees. It will affect women most of all, they say, by allowing companies to eliminate paid maternity and menstrual leave.

“The president is paying back the financiers who helped him win the election, not ordinary people who voted for him,” said Ermawati, 37, a leader of a factory strike in East Java who like many Indonesians uses one name. “They are killing us with the omnibus law.”

Indonesia, the world’s fourth-most populous country, has the largest economy in Southeast Asia but has found itself at a disadvantage when competing with some of its neighbors for foreign investment, particularly Vietnam, a centralized Communist state that can move swiftly to offer investors land and incentives.

Indonesia, which has been a democratic country since the fall of the Suharto dictatorship more than two decades ago, every five years holds the world’s largest direct presidential elections. But its decentralized government is notoriously bureaucratic and difficult to navigate.

The coronavirus pandemic has hit the country harder than any other in the region, infecting more than 320,000 people and throwing an estimated six million out of work, adding to the seven million already unemployed. The government expects the economy to contract this year for the first time since the Suharto era.

Bahlil Lahadalia, the head of the government’s Investment Coordinating Board, said the new law

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Protests against new labor law turn violent across Indonesia

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — Protests in many Indonesian cities turned violent Thursday as thousands of enraged students and workers criticized a new law they say will cripple labor rights and harm the environment.

Clashes between rock-throwing demonstrators and riot police broke out near Jakarta’s presidential palace as police tried to disperse the protesters, including workers and high school and university students.

President Joko Widodo is visiting Central Kalimantan province and was not in the palace.

Police fired tear gas at the protesters from several high schools and universities as they tried to approach the palace compound, turning roads into a smoke-filled battleground. The protesters fought back, hurling rocks and bottles.

An angry mob burned a traffic police post at an intersection near the palace, while other protesters set fires to tires and fiberglass road barriers. As night fell, some protesters set fire to a subway shelter in downtown Jakarta, causing the area to turn an eerie orange color.

Similar clashes occurred in large cities all over the country, including Yogyakarta, Medan, Makassar, Manado and Bandung, the capital of West Java province, where police arrested 209 people during two days of violent protests.

Organizers have called for a three-day national strike starting Tuesday demanding that the government revoke the legislation.

The Job Creation Law approved by Parliament on Monday is expected to substantially change Indonesia’s labor system and natural resources management. It amended 79 previous laws and was intended to improve bureaucratic efficiency as part of efforts by Widodo’s administration to attract more investment to the country.

The demonstrators say the law will hurt workers by reducing severance pay, removing restrictions on manual labor by foreign workers, increasing the use of outsourcing, and converting monthly salaries to hourly wages.

“We vow to continue returning to the streets until the new law is revoked,” said Andi Khiyarullah, a protest organizer from the Indonesia Alliance’s student executive body.

Police in Jakarta also blocked streets leading to Parliament, preventing labor groups from holding a mass rally there, and detained at least 200 high school students who attempted to reach the compound, Jakarta police spokesman Yusri Yunus said.

“They have been provoked by invitations on social media to create a riot in Jakarta,” Yunus said.

Fears grew of a surge in coronavirus cases from the protests, which are being held as infection rates are rising in many areas. Indonesia’s confirmed deaths rose Thursday to 11,580, the highest number in Southeast Asia.

National COVID-19 task force spokesperson Wiku Adisasmito expressed concern about “potential spreaders” in the crowds of protesters across the country, especially in Jakarta, the center of Indonesia’s outbreak.

“We remind you that we are still in a pandemic condition, there is a public health emergency,” he said as images showed demonstrators in close proximity, many without masks and ignoring social distancing.

The government reported Thursday that the total number of confirmed cases nationwide has risen to 320,564, including 11,580 deaths. Cases in Jakarta alone stood at 83,372 with 1,834 deaths.

Indonesia, Southeast Asia’s largest

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Protests in Indonesia against new jobs law enter third day

By Agustinus Beo Da Costa and Willy Kurniawan

JAKARTA (Reuters) – Nationwide protests and labour strikes against a polarising new jobs law in Indonesia continued across the country for a third straight day on Thursday.

The “omnibus” jobs creation bill, passed into law on Monday, has seen thousands of people in Southeast Asia’s largest economy take to the streets in protest against legislation they say undermines labour rights and weakens environmental protections.

In the past two days, almost 600 people have been detained, and two students seriously injured, while police have used tear gas and water cannons to disperse demonstrators.

On Thursday morning, crowds gathered across major cities on the most populous Java island, including Jakarta and Bandung, according to local media and video footage shared by Kahar S. Cahyono, a spokesman from the Confederation of Indonesian Workers’ Union (KSPI).

Maulana Syarif, 45, who has worked at Astra Honda motors for 25 years, told Reuters he joined the protests in Jakarta to fight for the rights of future generations.

“We ask that the law be repealed immediately,” he told Reuters. “This is our struggle for our children and grandchildren, and our future generations…If it’s like this (with the new law) our well-being will decrease, and we will lack certainty in jobs.”

In conjunction with 32 other trade unions, Said Iqbal, KSPI president, said its strike would continue for a third and final day on Thursday.

The government of President Joko Widodo has championed the flagship legislation as key to boosting Indonesia’s ailing economy by streamlining regulations, cutting red tape and attracting more foreign direct investment.

Met with cautious optimism by some financial analysts, the bill has sparked a significant outcry, with labour unions, students and academics criticising it for a perceived lack of consultation, expedited passage, and problematic clauses they say will harm workers and the environment.

(Additional Reporting by Tabita Diela; Writing by Kate Lamb; Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan)

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Indonesia students, workers rally against new labor law

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — Thousands of enraged students and workers staged rallies across Indonesia on Thursday in opposition to a new law they say will cripple labor rights and harm the environment.

The Job Creation Law approved by Parliament on Monday is expected to substantially change Indonesia’s labor system and natural resources management. It amended 79 previous laws and was intended to improve bureaucratic efficiency as part of efforts by President Joko Widodo’s administration to attract more investment to the country.

The demonstrators say the law will hurt workers by reducing severance pay, removing restrictions on manual labor by foreign workers, increasing the use of outsourcing, and converting monthly wages to hourly.


Police in the capital, Jakarta, prevented labor groups from holding a mass rally in front of Parliament, and they have held at least 200 high school students who were attempted to reach the parliament compound for protests, Jakarta police said Yusri Yunus said Thursday.

“They have been provoked by invitation on social media to create a riot in Jakarta,” Yunus said.

However, thousands of university students and workers have committed to take part in mass rallies in front of the Parliament building and the presidential palace on Thursday, leading authorities to block streets leading to both compounds in downtown Jakarta.

Similar rallies were also held in Bandung, the capital of West Java province, where clashes between rock-throwing students and riot police broke out since Tuesday when police tried to disperse the protesters by firing tear gas and water cannons.

Protests also occurred in other Indonesian cities on Thursday, including in Yogyakarta, Medan, Palembang and Makassar.

Indonesia, Southeast Asia’s largest economy, is eagerly courting foreign investors as key drivers of economic growth in a nation where nearly half the population of 270 million are younger than 30.

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Why thousands of labor activists protest Indonesia Job Creation Law

Bandung and Jakarta, Indonesia

Thousands of Indonesian students and workers protested on Wednesday against a new law they say will cripple labor rights and harm the environment, with some clashing with police. 

The new Job Creation Law, which was approved Monday, is expected to bring radical changes to Indonesia’s labor system and natural resources management. It amended 79 previous laws, including the Labor Law, the Spatial Planning Law, and Environmental Management Law.

It is intended to improve bureaucratic efficiency and cut red tape as part of efforts by President Joko Widodo’s administration to attract more investment in the vast archipelago nation, home to more than 270 million people. Supporters of the law say it will increase employment at a time when a recession looms and when Indonesia is competitively falling behind other Southeast Asian countries.

Seven parties in the House of Representatives approved the legislation while two others rejected it, with their members walking out of the plenary session.

The Confederation of Indonesian Trade Unions, known as KSPI, said about 2 million workers representing 32 labor unions would take part in mass rallies and strikes in various cities for several days starting Tuesday.

Authorities in Bandung, the capital of West Java province, blocked streets leading to the local parliament building and city hall, where clashes between rock-throwing students and riot police broke out late Tuesday when police tried to disperse the protesters.

On Wednesday, more than 3,000 protesters, including workers and high school and university students, attempted to reach the heavily guarded parliament building. Protesters set fires to tires near blocked streets and pelted police with rocks and gasoline bombs and broke down a gate of the parliament compound. Riot police responded by firing tear gas and water cannons.

Smaller protests also occurred in other Indonesian cities, including in Jakarta’s satellite cities of Tangerang and Bekasi where large factories are located, and many cities on Sumatra and Sulawesi islands.

National Police spokesman Argo Yuwono said riot police used only tear gas and rubber bullets in dispersing the protesters. He said authorities are still investigating the violence in Bekasi in which both students and police were injured.

Mr. Yuwono urged protesters to convey their views in an orderly and good mannered way, and always wear masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Thousands of workers from factories in Karawang, in West Java, and Serang, in Banten province, also protested outside their factories.

Police in the capital, Jakarta, prevented labor groups from holding a mass rally in front of Parliament.

KSPI President Said Iqbal released a statement saying the new law will hurt workers, including by reducing severance pay, removing restrictions on manual labor by foreign workers, increasing the use of outsourcing, and converting monthly wages into hourly wages.

“We reject the entire contents of the omnibus law which is very detrimental to workers,” Mr. Iqbal said. “It must be canceled immediately. The workers are already suffering a lot from the COVID-19 crisis.”

Some academics from prominent universities also expressed disappointment on

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Indonesia police arrest more than 20 as thousands protest against new jobs law

By Agustinus Beo Da Costa

JAKARTA (Reuters) – Indonesian police arrested 23 protesters in two industrial areas of Java island, using tear gas and water cannon as thousands across the country demonstrated against a new jobs law that critics say weakens worker rights and environmental regulation.

Edy Sumardi, a police spokesman in Banten on Java island, said on Wednesday that 14 demonstrators had been arrested in the province west of Jakarta during protests on Tuesday that continued into the evening.

Another police spokesman, Erdi Adrimulan Chaniago, said a further nine had been arrested in the city of Bandung, West Java. He said authorities would monitor factories and university campuses in case of further demonstrations.

The sweeping new legislation, passed into law by parliament on Monday, has been championed by the government of President Joko Widodo as key to boosting the competitiveness of Southeast Asia’s largest economy, hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, by cutting red tape and attracting foreign investment.

But amid a social media outcry, critics say the legislation, which revises more than 70 existing laws and regulations, comes at the expense of weakened labour protection and relaxed environmental rules. [nL4N2GW1HU]

The earlier-than-expected passage of the bill, at a time when police had restricted demonstrations in the capital Jakarta on public health grounds, has also raised concern among academics and activists of a lack of consultation.

Tuesday’s largely peaceful street protests in more than six Indonesian cities were accompanied by a backlash on social media, with Indonesians criticising the law using expletive hashtags that went viral.

An online petition calling for the law to be repealed has garnered more than 1.3 million signatures.

On Wednesday, the Confederation of Indonesian Workers Unions said in a statement it would continue a planned three-day strike after claiming hundreds of thousands had left their factories on Tuesday.

(Writing by Kate Lamb; Editing by Ed Davies and Kenneth Maxwell)

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