Dewi Nurita, Jakarta – Leaders of two workers unions claims to have been approached by police personnel and National Intelligence Agency (BIN) agents prior to the nationwide protests against the passing of the omnibus law on job creation (RUU cipta kerja) from October 5 to October 8.
The two leaders – according to Tempo Magazine's latest report – were Secretary of the Indonesian Metal Workers Federation (FSPMI), Riden Hatam Aziz, and Ismail from who is the coordinator of the Cilegon Metal Workers Guard (Garda Metal Cilegon).
Riden recalled he was approached by two state intelligence agents on the night of Sunday, October 4, after two police personnel from the Metro Tangerang Police had visited him one day prior.
Meanwhile, Ismail from Cilegon said that police had come to his house on October 2 and one day after requested him to reduce the number of protesters that planned to join the anti-omnibus law protests, which he complied to.
"They said that Cilegon and Jakarta were considered red zones," said Ismail as quoted from Tempo Magazine's October 10 edition. Ismail said he planned to mobilize just 400 protesters compared to the initial 600 after the request.
Not only was Ismail approached by police, he was invited for lunch by a BIN personnel to further reduce that number which he complied to and nly mobilized 200 protesters from the workers union.
Both Riden and Ismail deem their encounter with authorities prior to a protest by Indonesian civilians as attempts to hamper the workers union movement to freely and constitutionally express themselves.
The attempts to suppress the protest had started since the leaked confidential telegram by the Indonesian National Police Chief, General Idham Azis, was issued on October 2, which mainly talked about the handling of the anti-omnibus law protests. One of which is by not granting permits for such protests.
The police chief argues that suppressing the workers union's protests were essential as Indonesia is facing the COVID-19 pandemic, similar to most countries in the world.
Meanwhile, the National Intelligence Agency spokesperson Wawan Hari Purwanto denies that his institution had lobbied union workers into not holding the protests as he said actual intel would not reveal their identities during an operation. He said that the people claiming to be BIN members "must be verified as that is not normal," said Wawan to Tempo Magazine reporters.