Activists angered after police close down labour seminar in Semarang

Tribune News – October 18, 2013
Labour seminar at Pandanaran in Semarang - October 18, 2013 (Tribune)
Labour seminar at Pandanaran in Semarang - October 18, 2013 (Tribune)

Raka F Pujangga, Semarang – An Indonesian labour movement workshop at the Pandanaran Hotel in the Central Java capital of Semarang facilitated by the Trade Union Rights Centre (TURC) has been forcibly closed down by police who claim they did not have a permit for the event.

Six representatives were escorted to the Semarang metropolitan district police (Polrestabes) to explain the purpose and aims of the event. The six were Dono Raharjo (Central Java Federated Trade Union regional leadership board chairperson), Ilhamsyah (Indonesian Transportation Trade Union of Struggle spokesperson), Nanda (Semarang Legal Aid Foundation), Yovita Octaviani (TURC committee member), Rahma (TURC committee member) and Abu Mufathir (National Human Rights Commission researcher).

Octaviani explained that they had organised similar activities throughout Indonesia but had never had a problem related to permits. “We’ve held [similar] activities but never had an incident such as this”, he explained to Tribune News East Java on Friday October 18.

Octaviani said that they were disappointed with the police’s actions, who were arrogant and had no grounds to close down the workshop. “This shouldn’t be the way to do things, the police should have an official document in order to close down [an event]. Arrests also should have an official warrant”, he explained.

Dono Raharjo said that the police asked them to close the seminar and if they did not, it would be forcibly closed down. “We didn’t want there to be any violence here. So I temporarily halted the activities immediately and negotiated first with the police”, he explained.

East Java regional police headquarters intelligence and security agency chief Assistant Superintendent Wahyudi Triyono said that the even was closed down on the orders of his superior, namely the East Java regional police chief. However because it was held in an area under the jurisdiction of the Semarang metropolitan district police (Polrestabes) it was turned over to the metropolitan district police chief (Kapolrestabes).

“Notification about the planned activity should have been provided to the police before hand. [If] a letter of notification is made out then the event can recommence”, he explained.

[Yovita Kecewa Lokakarya Buruh Dibubarkan Paksa Aparat – Jumat, 18 Oktober 2013. Translated by James Balowski.]