Laborers Go Wild at Batam Demonstration
Friday, 25 November, 2011 | 13:39 WIB
TEMPO Interactive, BATAM:As many as 20,000 laborers in Batam continued their demonstration yesterday demanding the city increase minimum wages. The police were forced to use tear gas to contain the crowd.
The workers ignored the police’s call to disperse. Instead, they threw stones at the personnel and damaged the Batam Municipality Office’s security post as well as a police booth at Simpang Panbil. The billboard at the Batam Center was also dismantled and tires were set on fire. At least 40 motorcycles owned by demonstrators were broken as the police turned them upside down.
The presence of Riau Police chief, Brig. Gen. Raden Budi, and deputy governor Soerya Respationo, did not make them stop. They spoke for 10 minutes and decided that the workers’ representatives would negotiate with the Batam Municipality.
However, the negotiation was not successful. The municipality was willing to raise the minimum wage to Rp1.320,000, but workers insisted on Rp1.7 million.
Rally coordinator Muhammad Nasir threatened to deploy thousands of workers if the government did not meet their demand.
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