Students rally against Jobs Law decree in Bengkulu, Makassar and Jakarta

CNN Indonesia – March 30, 2023
UIN Alauddin Student Alliance rally against Jobs Law in Makassar – Undated (CNN)

Makassar – Student actions opposing the enactment of the government regulation in lieu of law (Perppu) replacing the Job Creation Law (Cipta Kerja) occurred in several parts of Indonesia on Thursday March 30. Actions took place in Jakarta, Bengkulu (Sumatra) and Makassar (South Sulawesi).

In Makassar, the Alauddin Makassar State Islamic University (UIN) Student Alliance opposed the enactment of the Perppu by blockading a road.

As a result of vehicles not being able to pass, a quarrel with the protesters broke out. After holding negotiations with police however, in the end the students agreed to reopen the road and the demonstration dispersed peacefully.

During the action, the demonstrators gathered on Jalan Urip Sumohardjo and set fire to old tyres, which created a long traffic jam in the lead up to the evening breaking of the fast.

"Revoke the Cipta Kerja Law and reject the Draft Sisdiknas [National Education System] Law as new liberalisation of the Indonesian education sector", said field coordinator Jumardi in a speech.

Aside from this, the students also demanded that the government immediately revoke Labour Minister Regulation (Permenaker) Number 5/2023 on cutting workers wages by 25 percent in export orientated industries.

"We also demand that Permenaker Number 5/2023 be immediately revoked because it harms workers through wage cuts", he said in front of the Bengkulu Regional House of Representatives (DPRD).

Bengkulu action ends in clash

On the same day, hundreds of students from the Bengkulu province Student Executive Council (BEM) Alliance also held a protest action in front of the Bengkulu DPRD asking the government to revise the Jobs Law.

But not one member of the DPRD was at the location because they were conducting official duties outside the city.

The action however ended in a clash when police wanted to push back a vehicle being used by the protesters. Students and police pushed and shoved each other and police chased down some of the students who pushed the vehicle until it collided with an official.

During the security efforts, the Bengkulu municipal police (Polresta) detained four of the protesting students.

"That is indeed correct, there were some students who were detained because they were deemed to be propagators in the clash between police and students", said Bengkulu municipal police chief Senior Commissioner Aris Sulistyono as quoted by the state-owned news agency Antara.

Sulistyono said that the students that were arrested will be questioned and that the clash occurred because there was a miscommunication. "Meanwhile we will be asking for information, we don't yet know for what reasons they were detained, we'll check first later", he said.

Unable to meet with lawmakers

In Jakarta meanwhile, National Association of University Student Executive Bodies (BEM SI) National Coordinator Hilmi Ash Shidiqi admitted that they felt disappointed because they were unable to meet with representatives of the House of Representatives (DPR) to give them the results of a study on the basis for their opposition to the Jobs Creation Law.

The students conveyed this disappointment when making a declaration of their position. "We are also very disappointed that the study that we wanted to give them wasn't accepted", said Shidiqi in front of the parliamentary complex in Jakarta on Thursday afternoon.

Because of this disappointment, the BEM SI stated that they would return and hold an even bigger action. "We are giving an ultimatum to the members of the people's chamber of representatives that we will take to the streets with an even bigger protest", said Shidiqi.

The BEM SI action against the Jobs Law ended at around 6.30 pm. Following the action, traffic returned to normal and there was no congestion on Jalan Gatot Subroto in the direction of Slipi.

The BEM SI also plans to hold another action on April 6 in the Harmoni area of Central Jakarta. (mir, Antara, mab/kid)

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Mahasiswa Demo Tolak UU Ciptaker di Bengkulu, Makassar, Jakarta".]