Titis Anis Fauziyah, Semarang – Hundreds of students taking part in a protest action against the Job Creation Law (Cipta Kerja) broke down two gates at the Central Java governor's office in the provincial capital of Semarang on Thursday April 13.
The demonstrators then tried to force their way in after successfully breaking down the first front gate. Their efforts however were thwarted by police that fired teargas and water cannon at the students, who scattered running towards Jalan Menteri Supeno.
The action had been taking place since 3 pm. Initially, the hundreds of students closed ranks on Jalan Pahlawan in front of the governor's office then destroyed the razor wire installed by police.
A short time later, the demonstrators moved to the front of the East Java Regional House of Representatives (DPRD) and again destroyed the razor wire there. Scores of police officers in front of the gate formed a barricade to hold back demonstrators.
But because they were outnumbered, the police moved aside and the demonstrators began to batter down the gate until it collapsed. Police quickly used water cannot to disperse the crowd.
The demonstrators then pulled back for a brief moment and headed for the southern gate of the DPRD offices to continue the action. The field coordinator meanwhile continued giving speeches from the command vehicle.
"We're students, we don’t' need to be afraid to fight for what should be fought for. This is our oath. There's no need to be afraid of confronting the police there (in front of the demonstrators), we reject the Cipta Kerja Law", said one of the field coordinators, who was wearing a green Walisongo Islamic State University (UIN) almamater jacket.
Towards 5 pm, the demonstrators again began pushing on the gate until it collapsed. In response the police fired teargas a second time to disperse the protesters.
The demonstrators ran in all directions after they were forced back by police. Several protesters stood their ground determined to fight back, and one demonstrator was seen being arrested by police.
Separately, Central Java Governor Ganjar Pranowo was reluctant to respond to the student demonstration, only coming out briefly to look at the DPRD front gate before leaving the location of the National Development Planning Forum (Musrenbang) at the Gradhika Bhakti Praja building.
Other media source reported that five students were arrested by police during the protest action.
[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Demo Menolak UU Cipta Kerja Ricuh, Dua Gerbang Dirobohkan Demonstran, Polisi Tembakkan Gas Air Mata".]