The third day of protests in Indonesia against a legislative reform that, according to the protesters, cuts labor rights and threatens the environment, were marked this Thursday by clashes with the police, who arrested 150 protesters in the capital.
Videos shared by Indonesian unions on social media showed scenes with hundreds of protesters, most wearing masks, in towns such as Jakarta, Purkawarte or Semarang, all three on the island of Java, singing the national anthem.
However, in some cases there were clashes with the police and, in one incident, the authorities deployed riot police and used tear gas and water cannons when protesters tried to break through a police barrier about 750 meters from the presidential palace in La capital.
Indonesian President Joko Widodo was in the state of Kalimantan on a working trip on food security in the area, prompting allegations that he was fleeing protests in the capital, which his office has denied, but the president has not commented on them, reports the Jakarta Post newspaper.
The mostly peaceful demonstrations began on Tuesday across the archipelago.
Several unions called for a strike to show their rejection of a battery of laws approved Monday by the Indonesian Parliament, which revised some 70 laws and regulations, aimed according to the government to create jobs and attract investors.
However, critics of the reform maintain that workers lose labor rights with the new laws, such as the minimum wage or some unemployment benefits, and the relaxation of environmental regulations will harm the environment.
The National Federation of Trade Unions (KSPN) announced on Tuesday that it had created a special team to study the long battery of laws with the intention of going to the Constitutional Court to challenge articles that violate the Indonesian Magna Carta and violate workers' rights, The Jakarta Post reported today.
During a speech prior to the vote, the Coordination Minister for Economic Affairs, Airlangga Hartarto, defended that the reform was necessary to facilitate foreign investment.
Indonesia, the fourth most populous country in the world and the sixteenth world economy - taking the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) as a reference - lags behind other Southeast Asian countries, such as Vietnam or Thailand, with respect to foreign investment.
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