Rizki Fachriansyah and Jon Afrizal, Jakarta and Jambi – Members of labor unions and the general public have once again taken to the streets nationwide to protest the controversial Job Creation Law.
Workers affiliated with the Confederation of Indonesian Prosperity Trade Unions (KSBSI) staged protests to oppose the jobs law in front of the Presidential Palace in Central Jakarta on Monday afternoon.
"Yes, there's [a demonstration] in front of the palace," said KSBSI representative Emma Liliefna as quoted by kompas.com, adding that around 1,000 members of the confederation participated in the rally.
Emma said Monday's protests were a follow-up on demands made by workers to revoke the new law, which was passed despite mounting opposition on Oct. 5.
Protestors on motorcycles were seen gathering on Jl. Medan Merdeka Barat in Jakarta, carrying signs conveying their discontent regarding the jobs law.
Protests also took place in Jambi where around 1,000 protesters – consisting of workers and students, among others – gathered around the Jambi Legislative Council complex in Telanaipura district.
Several protesters breached the gates of the Jambi Governor's Office building. Some of them clashed with police personnel deployed to guard the building's perimeters.
By 3 p.m., the demonstrations consisted mostly of students, as many workers had left the area.
The Confederation of Indonesian Trade Unions (KSPI) and 32 other labor unions had agreed to continue with the protests after partaking in similar rallies last week, when thousands of people from union workers to students participated in three-day protests over the contentious law from Oct. 6 to 8.
"Labor unions and workers will continue the protests in a structured manner according to the Constitution," KSPI chairman Said Iqbal said on Monday as reported by kompas.com.
He said the unions would make sure that the planned protests would not result in violence. "We are antiviolence but don't prohibit us from staging protests. We will continue to voice our opposition against the jobs law," he added.
Coordinating Economic Minister Airlangga Hartarto said President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo had warned the public against participating in any protests throughout the week as such events could jeopardize their health and safety amid the ongoing COVID-19 health crisis.
"The President would like to remind the public that the COVID-19 pandemic is still ongoing," Airlangga said. "Therefore, protests are not advised to prevent new infection clusters."
He went on to urge citizens to prioritize curbing the spread of the coronavirus in accordance with the health protocols established by the national COVID-19 task force.
Concerns have been raised regarding the government's alleged authoritarian measures to stifle dissent in recent weeks.
Activists accused the police of using excessive force against protesters and journalists during Thursday's protests, with hundreds of reported cases of alleged assault and missing people.
Jokowi previously drew the ire of critics and protesters by claiming that criticism of the jobs law was merely based on "disinformation and hoaxes spread through social media".