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May Day rally at State Palace calls for end to criminalisation of activists

Tribune News - May 1, 2016

Taufik Ismail, Jakarta – Thousand of protesting workers who commemorated May Day on Monday May 1 held a theatrical action in front of the State Palace in which they placed a giant puppet inside an iron cage.

They then destroyed the iron bars and demolished the more than two-metre tall black puppet. The theatrical action was to depict workers who have been criminalised for their activism.

As has been reported, two Jakarta Legal Aid Foundation (LBH) lawyers, Tigor Gempita Hutapea and Obed Sakti Andre Dominika along with 23 workers are facing trial as a result of a demonstration in October last year rejecting Government Regulation Number 78/2015 on wages that ended in a clash with police.

The demonstrating workers demanded that their colleagues be released from the indictments. During the theatrical action the workers also lit fireworks and firecrackers.

Despite the noise and smoke this created on Jl. Merdeka Barat, the action did not end in a clash. After setting off the fireworks, the workers moved back from the State Palace and moved off to the nearby Arjuna Wijaya statue.

"Our intent with the earlier action was to call for corruptors to be destroyed. Not for our comrades to be arrested, we call for them to be released and the corruptors put in jail", said one of the demonstrators.

Earlier, thousands workers from various different organisations demonstrated in front of the State Palace to commemorate International Labour Day. They demanded improvement in workers' welfare and for Government Regulation Number 78/2015 to be revoked.

[Translated by James Balowski for the Indoleft News Service. The original title of the report was Buruh Nyalakan Kembang Api di Depan Istana.]

Source: http://www.tribunnews.com/nasional/2016/05/01/buruh-nyalakan-kembang-api-di-depan-istana.

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