JAKARTA - Hundreds of cabbies and drivers of three-wheeled bajajs thronged outside of Indonesia's Parliament and the Information and Communication Technology Ministry on Tuesday morning (March 22), with thousands of others gathered elsewhere in the capital, demanding that the government shut down all app-based transportation services such as Uber, GrabCar and Go-Jek.
The drivers are part of the Land Transportation Drivers Association, a local group that had applied to the police for a permit for the rally. They had first planned to gather on Monday, but postponed it when they failed to received the permit.
Photographs of tollways jammed with taxis and bajajs, causing peak-hour traffic in the city to slow to a crawl, flooded social media in the early part of Tuesday.
Calling app-based services illegal and tax evading, protesters said their incomes have been adversely affected by what they referred to as "online transportation". Some said they have had to work longer hours just to break even.
Carrying Indonesian flags and waving huge banners, the cabbies and bajaj drivers shouted: "Close down the applications! Stop Uber! They are the thieves of our rights!"
Bajaj driver Didi Rasmidi said he was disappointed with how the Joko Widodo administration has handled the issue.
"When Jokowi wanted to become president, he took a bajaj and cared about us, but now, he doesn't care," said the 42-year-old, referring to the President's moniker. "Voting for him was the biggest mistake of my life. I regret."
Not all cabbies are against the app-based transport providers. Photos of a few damaged taxis belonging to cabbies who refused to join in the protest were also shared on the Internet.
Cabbie Abdul Jabar, 33, said those who did not take part in the protest deserved to have their vehicles destroyed.
"We are here fighting and they take the opportunity to make money from our absence. How dare they...Traitors, that's what they are! They deserve it."
Transportation Minister Ignasius Jonan had earlier wanted to ban the ride-hailing apps, citing legal violations.
He issued a letter in November banning all app-based ride-hailing services, including motorcycle taxi apps GoJek and GrabBike. The move, however, was overruled by President Joko less than 24 hours after the letter was issued.