Thousands of students and workers have staged protests across Jakarta to voice opposition to the newly passed controversial omnibus law on job creation on Thursday.
Members of the National Association of University Student Executive Bodies (BEM-SI) announced that around 5,000 students would protest the newly passed law on Thursday starting at 10:00 a.m. in front of the State Palace.
The alliance was one of the groups that previously held a mass rally under the #ReformasiDikorupsi (reform corrupted) movement. The hashtag was used for a series of rallies held across the country in late last year following the controversial revision to the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) Law.
“If our demands are rejected without consideration, voices are silenced, criticism is prohibited without reason and we’re accused of subversion and disruption, then there is only one word, fight,” the alliance’s coordinator Remy Hastian said in a written statement on Thursday.
Remy said the alliance would urge President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo to issue a regulation in lieu of law (Perppu) to revoke the contentious law.
Workers under the Indonesian Prosperous Workers Union (SBSI) also took to the streets of Jakarta to oppose the law on Thursday.
The protestors tried to move toward the House compound but were stopped by police at Jl Gerbang Pemuda in Senayan, Central Jakarta, according to local media reports.
The crowd then moved to stage a rally in front of the Manpower Ministry building on Jl Gatot Subroto in South Jakarta.
On Twitter, the hashtag #JokowiKabur (Jokowi Runs Away) started trending, after Jokowi left the capital for Central Kalimantan on Thursday for a work trip related to a food estate program in the province.
The hashtag #MahasiswaTurunKejalan (Students Take to the Streets) also began trending on Twitter in reference to Thursday’s mass rally.
Beyond Jakarta, students and workers in areas across the archipelago also staged rallies to protest the new jobs law on Thursday.
The National Police have deployed around 2,500 personnel from its Mobile Brigade Operations Control (BKO Brimob) to beef up security amid the rallies in the Greater Jakarta area.