Thousands rally in Surabaya demanding government, House drop Omnibus Law

CNN Indonesia – July 16, 2020
Thousands of protesters rally against Omnibus Law in Surabaya – July 16, 2020 (CNN)

Surabaya – Thousands of protesters from the Movement Alliance Against the Omnibus Law (Getol) packed Jl Pahlawan in the East Java provincial capital of Surabaya on Thursday July 16. Roads in the vicinity of the rally have been closed off since earlier this afternoon.

What was unique however was that the protesters and the command vehicle did not approach the East Java governor’s office which is located in the same area.

“We aren’t going to the (East Java) governor’s office. We’re going to the Heroes’ Monument. We cannot hope for anything from the state”, said one of the speakers from the command vehicle.

They chose to hold the rally on the side close to the Heroes Monument with speakers standing with their backs to the monument as they addressed the crowd.

Field coordinator Donny Arianto said that Getol East Java is made up of a number of different groups including student organisations, the Surabaya Legal Aid Foundation (LBH Surabaya), the Indonesian Forum for the Environment (Walhi) and dozens of East Java trade unions.

“We’re made up of more than 36 different groups, from students, farmers, workers and still many others”, he said.

The trade unions that attended the rally originated from various different areas such as Surabaya and the nearby cities of Sidoarjo, Gresik, Lamongan and Mojokerto.

Arianto said that Getol is demanding that the House of Representatives (DPR) and the government immediately cancel plans to enact the Draft Law on Job Creation.

“Our demand is, we are asking the government to cancel the deliberations on the Draft Omnibus Law, including the planned discussions, its enactment and so forth”, he said.

Speaking in the same vein, Getol spokesperson Habibus Shalihin said that Getol is making a number of demands including explicitly rejecting all of the provisions in the Omnibus Law on labour.

“We explicitly reject all of the Omnibus Law clusters which harm the ordinary people, and demand that the DPR stop deliberating it”, said Shalihin.

Getol is also urging the government to annul the recently enacted Mineral and Coal Mining Law (UU Minerba), which they say will destroy the ordinary people’s lives, and for the state to realise genuine agrarian reform and resolve existing land conflicts.

Not only that, Getol is also demanding that the government take responsibly for the mass sackings that have been taking place during the corona virus pandemic (Covid-19).

“[We] demand that the state take responsibility for the many workers who have been furloughed and aren’t receiving wages, not received THR [holiday bonuses] and the arbitrary cancellation of BPJS [Social Security Management Agency] worker [contributions] by companies during the pandemic”, the group said.

They are also demanding free Covid-19 testing including rapid tests and for the state to cover the cost of treatment for all layers of society impacted upon by the corona virus.

Then they are also asking the state to immediately ensure the rights, wages and allowances of health workers in accordance with legislation. “Create a people based, free and quality national healthcare system. Realise education with a vision that is populist, scientific, democratic and free”, they said.

Aside from Surabaya, protest actions against the Omnibus Law also took place today in the Central Java city of Yogyakarta and Jakarta.

In Jakarta, protesters have been rallying in front of the parliamentary complex since early morning. At the same time and place, there were also protest actions by a different group against the deliberations on the Draft Pancasila Ideology Guidelines Law (RUU HIP).

Inside the DPR building meanwhile, the house held a plenary meeting. The meeting produced a list of 50 draft laws which will be included in the 2020 National Legislation Priority Program (Prolegnas) including the RUU HIP and the Omnibus Law on Job Creation. (frd/kid)

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was “Massa Aksi Anti Omnibus Law Belakangi Kantor Gubernur Jatim”.]