Workers mark Obama visit with protest against labour law revisions

Source – November 10, 2010
Workers rally on Jl. Merdeka in Jakarta (Actual)
Workers rally on Jl. Merdeka in Jakarta (Actual)

Jakarta – Several moments before the arrival of US President Barack Obama in Jakarta on the afternoon of Wednesday November 10, thousands of workers held a protest action demanding the cancellation of planned revisions to Law Number 13/2003 on Labour, which they say will harm workers.

During the action, the workers “occupied” Jl. Medan Merdeka Barat in Central Jakarta and as a consequence, traffic heading north from the Hotel Indonesia traffic circle to Harmoni was brought to a complete standstill.

Several demonstrators also forced Transjakarta busses coming from Harmoni in the direction of Sudirman to stop in order to attract the attention of officials, so police would open access to the road in front of the State Palace. This created tensions between the workers and police.

After maintaining their position for several hours along a stretch of Jl. Medan Merdeka Barat, police finally opened access to the road and allowed the demonstrators to protest in front of the Palace.

During the action, the demonstrators demanded that the revisions to the labour law be cancelled because it will inflict severe financial harm to the working class, which is still not prosperous. Before ending the action, the protesters set fire to a coffin to symbolise the death of workers’ future. (RIE)

[Translated by James Balowski.]