Clashes erupt over new Indonesian jobs law

JAKARTA: Police and demonstrators clashed in the Indonesian capital on Thursday on the third day of protests and labour strikes against a polarising new jobs law passed in Southeast Asia’s largest economy earlier this week.
Hundreds of demonstrators gathered near the presidential palace in central Jakarta, shouting and throwing stones. Police fired tear gas and water cannon in an attempt to disperse the crowd, Reuters witnesses said. The “omnibus” jobs creation bill, passed into law on Monday, has seen thousands of people across the world’s fourth-most populous nation take to the streets in protest against legislation they say undermines labour rights and weakens environmental protections.
“We ask that the law be repealed immediately,” Maulana Syarif, 45, who has worked at Astra Honda motors for 25 years, told Reuters in Jakarta. “This is our struggle for our children and grandchildren, and our future generations… If it’s like this our well-being will decrease, and we will lack job certainty.”
At least two students that joined the demonstrations have been hospitalised with head injuries, and six police officers injured. “I feel a responsibility to the Indonesian people,” said another demonstrator, IT student Arawinda Kartika, as she marched toward the palace. “I feel sorry for labourers working day and night without sufficient wages or power.”–Agencies