Thousands rally in East Java urging Widodo to drop Omnibus Law

CNN Indonesia – March 11, 2020
Workers and students rally in East Java against Omnibus Law – March 11, 2020 (CNN)

Surabaya – An action by thousands of workers and students from the East Java Movement Alliance Against the Omnibus Law (Getol) has urged President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo to immediately cancel the deliberations on the Draft Omnibus Law on Job Creation. They also threatened that they will hold even larger protests if he does not.

This demand was made by protesters when they blockaded the Frontage Road on the west side of Ahmad Yani in the East Java (Jatim) provincial capital of Surabaya on Wednesday March 11. Earlier they managed to paralyze the flow of traffic at the Waru Airport.

“We are the Jatim Getol alliance, through this we explicitly order the president and the DPR [House of Representatives] to cancel the deliberations on the Draft Omnibus Law”, said action coordinator Dony Ariyanto.

Ariyanto also called on all elements of society to continue fighting against the law if the government refuses to budge on the issue.

“We from the Getol alliance call on all elements of society to fight if the president and the DPR continue deliberating the Draft Omnibus Law”, he said.

Ariyanto said that Getol will return to the streets on Monday March 23 if the government continues to “close its ears”. The next action will be joined by labour and student groups in even greater numbers.

“We will take to the streets again on the 23rd (of March), empty the factories, empty the campuses, viva workers, viva students”, he said.

East Java Indonesian Metal Trade Workers Federation (FSPMI) Secretary General Jazuli meanwhile said that the March 23 action will again be held at the Waru Airport which represents the main access point for traffic into Surabaya from neighbouring regencies.

Jazuli said that Getol itself has chosen to hold a street action in front of the regional government building because they no longer trust the regional government.

“We don’t have a government. They just stay silent as their people face danger”, said Jazuli.

Getol, said Jazuli, will also blockade all traffic in and around the location, including access to the border between Sidoarjo and Surabaya, and the Waru toll gate will also be closed down.

“It’s likely we’ll close it down. Today we are being tolerant with road users. We will [shut it down] totally for a full day, our hope is that the government will see the ordinary people’s reaction”, said Jazuli.

The Getol protesters could be seen gradually leaving the location as evening approached. The western side of the Frontage Road on Ahmad Yani has also begun to function as normal.

Getol’s membership is made up of labour, student and non-government organisations.

It includes the Surabaya Legal Aid Foundation (LBH Surabaya), the Indonesian Trade Union Congress Alliance Federation (KASBI), the Mining, Energy and Chemicals Trade Union (SP KEP), the FSPMI, the Republic of Indonesia Student Brigade (LAMRI), the Danamon Trade Union (SP Danamon), the East java Indonesian Forum for the Environment (Walhi Jatim), the Independent Trade Union (SBI), the Indonesian Harbour Transportation Labour Federation (FBTPI), the East Java Agrarian Reform Consortium (KPA Jatim) and the Gresik National Trade Union (SPN Gresik).

Also part of the alliance is the Indonesian Workers Solidarity Struggle (SPBI), the National Association of University Student Executive Bodies (BEM SI), the Indonesian Islamic Students Association (PMII), the Grassroots Front for the Sovereignty of Natural Resources (FNKSDA), the Surabaya Muhammadiyah Students Association (IMM Surabaya), the Surabaya Indonesian National Students Movement (GMNI Surabaya), Cinder (Bara Api), the Confederation of Prosperity Labour Unions (KSBSI), the Metal, Electronics and Machinery Trade Union (SPSI LEM), the National Trade Union Militia (Laskar SPN SDA), the Green Muhammadiyah Cadres (Kader Hijau Muhammadiyah), the Food, Beverage, Tourism, Restaurant and Hotel Trade Union Federation (Kamiparho), the Banking Trade Union Communication Network (Jarkom), Grindstone Solidarity (Wadas), the Nusantara Trade Union (KSN), the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras) and the Indonesian Professional Competency Development Centre (P2KPI). (frd/osc)

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was “Buruh-Mahasiswa Jatim Desak Jokowi Batalkan Omnibus Law”.]