Jakarta – Hundreds of protesters from the People’s Movement Alliance (ARB) have again taken to the streets to oppose the Draft Omnibus Law on Job Creation (RUU Ciptaker) during a rally on Jl Gejayan in the Central Java city of Yogyakarta on Friday August 14.
The protesters – the majority of which wore black clothing – sat in the middle of the road forming a large half-circle. They maintained distance and wore masks as they held up posters with their different demands, the essence of which was opposing the Omnibus Law.
One of the speakers said that the administration of President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo and Vice President Ma’ruf Amin are not waging war on the corona virus (Covid-19) but rather, are a waging war on their own people.
“The Jokowi-Ma’ruf administration isn’t waging war on the pandemic, but rather they’re waging war on their own people”, they said.
The speaker said that the ordinary people can no longer hold out hope in the elite in parliament or the government to fight for their needs. This even includes the trade union elite who in the end are only looking after their own interests.
“The people’s movement must trust in the student movement, the labour movement, the farmer’s movement and build national unity”, they said.
Yogyakarta ARB public relations officer Lusi meanwhile said that they have related their opposition to the law again and again through various means such as audiences with related parties, but the result has been just empty talk.
“We’re just received and they listen to our aspirations, but what is the follow up? Zero, nothing”, said Lusi.
According to Lusi, reflecting on this experience the Gejayan Memanggil (Gejayan Calling) actions that have been held in Yogyakarta since last year, they have become a political alternative when nothing is offered by the state.
“Our political space has become restricted to the ballot box. We are here to provide a new political space, namely street politics so everyone in society that wants to can be involved, so they can also be involved”, said Lusi.
During today’s action, the ARB raised seven demands including defeating the Omnibus Law, providing healthcare guarantees, food, jobs and decent wages during the pandemic, and freeing university student from tuition fees for two semesters during the pandemic.
In addition to this, the ARB is also calling for solidarity against iron-sand mining at Kulon Progo south of Yogyakarta, rejecting the planned construction of the Bener Dam and an end to all infrastructure projects which result in people being evicted from their land.
Following the action on Jl Gejayan, the demonstrators moved off towards the Sunan Kalijag State Islamic University (UIN) to continue the protest. (sut/fra)
[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was “Massa Tolak RUU Ciptaker Sebut Jokowi Perangi Rakyat Sendiri”.]