On Tuesday, April 21, the Jakarta police announced a ban on all rallies commemorating May Day after workers planned to hold protests against a controversial omnibus bill on job creation on Thursday, April 30, despite the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The Confederation of Indonesian Trade Unions (KSPI) and the Indonesian Labor Workers Assembly (MPBI) had earlier announced plans to hold protests in front of the House and the Office of the Coordinating Economic Minister on April 30. According to Jakarta police officials, all rallies will be banned as they are in violation of the city's large-scale social restriction policy (PSBB) currently in place to slow the spread of COVID-19. Under these measures, gatherings of more than five are prohibited as a precautionary measure.
Security officers have warned that they will forcefully disperse protesters if the rallies were to go ahead. A heightened security presence is to be expected in Jakarta in the lead up to May Day.
Indonesia's House of Representatives (DPR) is deliberating an omnibus bill on labor reforms aimed at attracting investors and creating jobs which was submitted by the government on February 12. The bill, which seeks to amend 79 laws including the 2003 manpower law, has been opposed by labor unions which have condemned the bill for reducing labor rights and benefiting employers. There has also been further resistance on the bill given the massive layoffs due to the economic slowdown caused by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Individuals in Jakarta are advised to monitor the situation, anticipate an increased security presence and transportation disruptions in the vicinity any protests, avoid all public demonstrations as a precaution.
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