Workers in Jakarta injured after police forcibly break up protest action

Viva News – June 28, 2014
Police attack rally by PT Super Steel Indah workers - June 27, 2014 (Viva)
Police attack rally by PT Super Steel Indah workers - June 27, 2014 (Viva)

Eko Priliawito – A protest action by hundreds of PT Super Steel Indah workers in the West Cakung area of East Jakarta was forcibly broken up by officers from the Metro Jaya regional police and the East Java district police on the evening of Friday June 27.

The action by police resulted in nine workers suffering injuries. According to observations by VIVAnews, police officers, which had been guarding the action since morning, began forcing the workers to disperse at around 10pm.

At least nine Company Level Unit officers were mobilised to disburse around 250 demonstrating workers. The police also deployed two water cannons. As result of the police’s actions, one workers suffered a fracture to the their right leg and was taken by comrades to the Jayakarta Hospital in East Jakarta.

The PT Super Steel Indah workers have been protesting since last month demanding the payment of outstanding severance pay after being arbitrarily dismissed. And it was not just workers that joined the action, their wives and children also gave support by joining the protest. When police were dispersing the workers, one of the workers’ wives could be seen crying hysterically as her husband was beaten by police.

Nevertheless, Metro Jaya regional police tactical Unit who were in the front ranks and personnel from the mobile brigade (Brimob) who in the rear continued to disperse the workers. Although they tried to fight back, they were outnumbered they were eventually forced to disperse.

As many as 15 workers were taken to the district police for questioning in relation to the actions they had been holding. One of them was chairperson of the PT Super Steel Indah All Indonesian Workers Union (SPSI), Sofyan. “I can’t brother, I’m being taken to the police station. I can’t provide any information yet”, said Sofyan. The workers’ families are still standing firm demanding the payment of severance pay.

From the information gathered by VIVAnews, the workers’ action is related to a court decision that declared that the company was bankrupt. Workers however were not willing to accept the decision before all of the company’s workers employed in the steel smelter received their wages.

[Translated by James Balowski for the Indoleft News Service.]