Students rally at parliament against environmentally destructive Omnibus Law

Detik News – March 4, 2020
Student protest against Omnibus law in front of DPR – March 4, 2020 (Detik)

Ahmad Bil Wahid, Jakarta – Scores of students held a protest action in front of the House of Representatives (DPR) building Wednesday opposing the Omnibus Law on Job Creation which is still being deliberated by the parliament.

“We took to the streets to reject the draft Omnibus Law. Today we are demanding that the DPR [members] come out of their offices [to meet us], so they don’t have to go far by coming to our campus”, said Greater Jakarta and Banten Student Executive Council (BEM) Coordinator Bagas Maropindra just before the action began in front of the DPR building in Senayan, Jakarta, on Wednesday March 4.

Maropindra said that the action was joined by All Indonesia Student Executive Councils (BEM SI) from 13 campuses across Greater Jakarta (Jabodetabek) including the Jakarta State University (UNJ) and the Jakarta State Polytechnic (PNJ).

The action began with a long-march from the TVRI state television station building on Jl Gerbang Pemuda in Central Jakarta to the DPR building.

Maropindra believes that the draft law will harm workers because it abolishes minimum wages and fails to provide employment guarantees. In addition to this, the Omnibus Law fails to side with the ordinary people in the management of the environment.

“Many of the changes in the Omnibus Law are seen as conflicting with Law Number 32/2000 on the Protection and Management of the Environment. Problems which will damage the environment, first by abolishing [regulations] on the release up of land which is allowed on the basis of local wisdom, this could result in many small communities being criminalised in the future”, he said.

The long-march, which began at 2.10 pm, was provided with a police escort from the start.

Traffic in front of the DPR building became congested as a result of the action although no roads were closed and drivers had to reduce speed as they passed near the location of the demonstration. (abw/mae)

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was “Tolak Omnibus Law Cipta Kerja, BEM SI Gelar Demo di DPR”.]