JAKARTA, KOMPAS.com – Police in Jakarta have detained hundreds of young people who hit the capital's streets to protest the controversial jobs creation law, which was passed by President Joko Widodo’s coalition of political parties earlier this week.
Police in Central Jakarta detained 50 teenagers who they presumed were out to join the demonstrations on the morning of Thursday, October 8. "We deduced that the youth are neither members of labor nor student groups" said precinct head Chief Commissioner Heru Novianto.
"We detained them because of a process of elimination and because we do not want [potential] provocateurs infiltrating the ranks of labor protesters."
The arrest came a day after the West Jakarta Police precinct took 89 teenagers in custody. Police said the teenagers intended to demonstrate despite a police order prohibiting protest actions due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“We detained the [high school students] as they assembled in Cengkareng, West Jakarta,” said West Jakarta Police Precinct head Chief Commissioner Audie S. Latuheru on October 7. “They told us that they were heading to Parliament to protest against the Jobs Omnibus Bill.”
“They posed the risk of forming a new [Covid-19] cluster because they came in a large group. We carried out swab tests on them and found that two of the students tested positive for Covid-19.”
Audie added the police took further action against the affected would-be protesters. “We contacted [the Jakarta branch] of the Covid-19 task force to isolate the Covid-19 cases. We also found that some of them carried knives on their person.”
Police in the South Jakarta precinct also detained 64 high school students, dropouts and unemployed in the Semanggi area, as they were heading to the Parliament complex in the Senayan area.