Jakarta. A riot broke out in Harmoni, Central Jakarta, on Thursday when police clashed with hundreds of protesters gathering in the capital to demand President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo to annul the 2020 Law about Job Creation.
House of Representatives passed the law on Monday, and since then, protests have sparked around Indonesia, fueled primarily by the notion that the law removes many benefits workers currently enjoy.
In Jakarta, the protest peaked on Thursday with students and workers concentrated their protests around the State Palace. President Jokowi was not in the Palace on the day, as he took a scheduled trip to visit the government's latest food estate project in Central Kalimantan.
The situation escalated when police officers in full riot gear defend their barricade from the protestors who want to go to Aspirasi Park in front of the State Palace.
Clashes between the police and the protesters started at around 1 p.m. in Jalan Abdul Muis, Jalan Juanda, Jalan Suryopranoto, Pasar Baru area, and Gambir Station.
Police officers sprayed hundreds of protesters with tear gas. The protesters fought back with bare hands, stones, bottles, and bamboo sticks. Around 5 p.m, the police and protesters negotiated the peace act to end the 4 hours skirmish.
Protests against the omnibus bill on job creation also broke out at the Hotel Indonesia roundabout, Arjuna Wiwaha Statue, Tugu Tani area, and several cities in Indonesia such as Yogyakarta, Medan, and Palu.
Later that night, Jakarta Metropolitan Police spokesman Chief Comr. Yusri Yunus said the police had detained around 1,000 people for instigating the riots and damaging public properties. At least 11 Transjakarta bus stations were ransacked by the protestors, with the one near Hotel Indonesia roundabout burned down to the ground.
The rioters also looted the Energy and Mineral Resource ministry office at Jalan MH Thamrin and vandalized the US Embassy compound at Jalan Medan Merdeka Selatan nearby.
"We will investigate everything. We will investigate all the videos. That was the rioters who made all the damages," he said.
Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs, Mahfud MD, said at a press conference the government suspected the riots were created to sow chaos in the country.
"For the sake of order and security, the government will take a firm stance on any riot which is aimed at creating chaos and fear in the community," Mahfud said.