For the third day in a row, thousands of people in Indonesia took to the streets to demonstrate against a new labor law. In the capital Jakarta, the police acted harshly on Thursday. At least 600 people have been arrested in the last days.
New rules for the minimum wage
Demonstrations are also taking place in other places in the country. In Jakarta, protesters threw stones at the police. Explosions could also be heard.
Police intervened strongly on Thursday and used tear gas and water cannons to disperse the protesters.
The new labor law, which President Joko Widodo says is intended to simplify current regulations, was approved by parliament on Monday. According to the protesters, the law leads to more inequality and environmental damage.
Previously, the minimum wage was agreed per sector. Governors can now set the minimum wage themselves. People are also paid less long after being fired and employers only have to release their staff one day a week.
In recent days, especially young people demonstrated. These demonstrations took place relatively quietly. Thousands of security forces are on the move in the capital every day to prevent the demonstrations from getting out of hand.
The demonstrations will be according to BBC News supported by a coalition of 15 action groups, including trade unions. They call on employees to go on strike.
Demonstrators set fire to a metro station in the Indonesian capital Jakarta (photo: ANP).
Under the new law, companies will receive permits and exemptions more quickly for projects that have a negative impact on the environment. For example, companies only need to request permission if a project poses a very high risk to the climate.
The new law was one of the government’s spearheads. According to parliament, the law will create nine million jobs.
The country with over 267 million inhabitants, which largely depends on income from tourism, has been severely affected by the corona virus.