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Mahfud MD calls for 'humane' handling of jobs law protests as tensions rise

Jakarta Post - October 20, 2020

Rizki Fachriansyah, Jakarta – Coordinating Legal, Political and Security Affairs Minister Mahfud MD has called for "humane" handling of mass protests against the Job Creation Law, urging the police to practice restraint to ensure peaceful demonstrations amid heightened tensions.

He urged the police to refrain from applying excessive force against protesters as demonstrations pushing for the revocation of the law are set to continue in several regions of the country on Tuesday.

"Every police officer and security [force member] is expected to treat all protesters humanely; do not carry lethal bullets," Mahfud said in a brief video uploaded to the ministry's YouTube channel on Monday.

Mahfud went on to say that demonstrations were allowed, as long as they were carried out in accordance with government regulations.

"The government does not prohibit demonstrations. What's important is that [the protesters] adhere to the rules," he said.

He called on the police to watch for any hostile actors infiltrating the mass demonstrations to incite violence. "Anyone proven to have incited chaos will be handled accordingly," Mahfud said.

Mahfud's statement appears to be an olive branch offered to protestors and critics of the jobs law amid concerns over the government's allegedly authoritarian measures to stifle dissent.

Activists have accused the police of excessive force against protesters and journalists during protests in recent weeks.

The Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras) said it had received some 1,500 complaints about alleged violence by security forces during a three-day wave of demonstrations earlier this month.

Source: https://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2020/10/20/mahfud-md-calls-for-humane-handling-of-jobs-law-protests-as-tensions-rise.html