World Politics

Police Violence on Workers Rally in Indonesia

Indonesia – LBH Jakarta: Activists Assaulted by Police at Labor Rally

Saturday 31 October 2015by Jakarta Globe

Jakarta. The Jakarta Legal Aid Institute (LBH Jakarta) has criticized the police for allegedly beating up two of its activists during a labor rally at the State Palace on Friday.

The two, Tigor Gempita Hutapea and Obed Sakti Luitnan, were reportedly accompanying the protesters when police started to violently disperse the crowd after the time allotted for the rally had run out.

Organizers had been given permission to protest at the State Palace in Central Jakarta until 6 p.m., but apparently laborers were still present by 8 p.m., prompting the police action.

According to LBH Jakarta, Tigor and Obed then grabbed their cellphones to snap pictures and when some police officers noticed that, they immediately hit both activists and dragged them the ground and into a police vehicle, where the alleged assault continued.

The two activists suffered injuries to the head, face and stomach.

Police also arrested 23 laborers at the rally, according to LBH Jakarta, who reportedly were beaten as well.

"Police [officers] have to respect human rights and are not allowed to use violence [in circumstances like Friday’s rally],” Alghiffari Aqsa, LBH Jakarta’s director, said on Friday. “What they [the police] have done is completely against the law and legal steps must follow,” he added.

Tigor and Obed on Saturday were still being detained by the Jakarta Police for questioning, along with the 23 protesters.

LBH Jakarta has urged the Jakarta Police chief, Insp. Gen. Tito Karnavian, to release all 25 and investigate the officers involved in disbanding the rally at the State Palace.

But the police chief said the laborers were to blame for the violence.

“It is such a shame that the protest had to end up that way,“Tito said.”Had the protesters respected the law, this would not have happened. They should have obeyed [the law].”

Nearly 1,500 police officers were deployed for Friday’s rally, which attracted some 10,000 protesters calling for a higher minimum wage.