Indonesia’s Omnibus Law: hardline cleric enters fray as protests continue

Indonesia’s Omnibus Law: hardline cleric enters fray as protests continue

An exiled Indonesian firebrand Muslim cleric has called on his followers to lay siege on Jakarta’s presidential palace on Tuesday afternoon and to topple President Joko Widodo, as large-scale demonstrations against a new law on job creation enter their second week.

The hashtag #UmmahUniteToRejectOmnibusLaw, meaning Muslim community unite to reject the Omnibus Law, trended on Twitter in Indonesia on Tuesday as thousands gathered in Jakarta for a protest.

The controversial legislation, containing reforms in an “Omnibus” bill that amends more than 70 existing laws, is aimed at cutting red tape and boosting investment to create jobs. But protesting workers say it undermines existing labour laws, reduces their income and weakens environmental protections.

Tens of thousands of people took to the streets across the country last week amid concerns the rallies could worsen Indonesia’s coronavirus outbreak. The country has reported more than 336,000 cases and close to 12,000 deaths.