Fatality Confirmed at Indonesian Consulate Protest in Saudi Arabia

Thousands of Indonesian workers threw rocks and started a fire at the Indonesian consulate on Sunday. (Photo courtesy of YouTube)

Migrant workers threw rocks and started a fire outside the Indonesian consulate in Jeddah on Sunday. (Photo courtesy of YouTube)

Updated at 12:05 p.m. 

An imminent crackdown on illegal migrant labor by Saudi Arabia caused chaos at the Indonesia consulate in Jeddah on Sunday as thousands of Indonesian workers attempting to clarify their immigration status threw rocks at the building and started a fire at its perimeter.

A statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Monday confirmed that an Indonesian had died during the disturbance. No further details were available.

The Indonesian ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Gatot Abdullah Mansyur, told Detik.com that 5,000 workers were queuing to have their travel documents verified on Sunday afternoon. The Saudi Arabia government is to begin a crackdown on illegal labor from July 3.

“The counter usually opened at 4 or 5 p.m. however it was still not open at 6 p.m. yesterday because of the weather,” he said.

Temperatures frequently exceed 40C and hundreds of protesters fainted, according to the ministry’s statement.

Some 180,000 illegal foreign workers have left Saudi Arabia since April 1 under an amnesty that allows them to try to sort out their papers or leave without paying a penalty, a newspaper report said on Sunday.

This wave brings to 380,000 the number of foreign workers who have left Saudi Arabia since the beginning of the year.

Workers without proper papers are becoming increasingly concerned as violators of the immigration rules in the oil-rich kingdom will face penalties when the amnesty period ends on July 3, with punishment including imprisonment up to two years, and fines up to 100,000 riyals ($27,000).

According to official statistics, eight million expatriates work in the kingdom. Economists say there are another two million unregistered foreign workers.

Saudi Arabia is aiming to create job opportunities for its own unemployed by cutting the number of foreign workers, although many of those are in low-paid jobs that Saudis would not accept.

Before the ministry released its statement, while reports of the death were still being investigated, presidential spokesman Teuku Faizasyah told the Jakarta Globe that a security guard had been injured in the disturbance.

JG/Agence France-Presse

  • Pelan2

    Things are finally looking up for Indonesian Migrant Workers – the Saudis want to start working themselves!!!! Good news…

    • TaintedLove

      They have to – its not long before the oil runs out plus alts are really making strides
      Sad about the riot – taints the image of Indonesia

  • Cheryln

    ‘Educated’ Indonesian expat workers (read: servants) behaving with respect and maturity towards their host country – by setting fires and throwing rocks.

    - no wonder they aren’t really welcome in other countries, such horrible behaviour.

  • Tatanka

    There is an old saying : you can take a person out of a village but you cannot take the village out of the person. Those Indonesian workers do not realize that they are in a different country and are subject to a different set of law. While inside the embassy compound the Indonesian embassy retains diplomatic immunity, outside the compound is under the Saudi law. I hope the Saudi government will arrest them all and throw their sorry asses in jail for breaking the law, disturbing the peace, illegal gathering, property damage, arson, and other things the government can throw in. Regardless of the reason it does not justify their barbaric and anarchy conduct. The Indonesian government must be ashamed to have its citizens behaving as thugs. I sincerely hope the Saudi government will show no mercy to those thugs and terrorists!

    • Good,Bad and Ugly

      How long have you been out of the village?

      If one knows anything about Indonesian Embassies, then the riot was probably justified.

      But I really like these words:
      “arrest them all and throw their sorry asses in jail for breaking the law, disturbing the peace, illegal gathering, property damage, arson, and other things the government can throw in. Regardless of the reason it does not justify their barbaric and anarchy conduct. The Indonesian government must be ashamed to have its citizens behaving as thugs. I sincerely hope the Saudi government will show no mercy to those thugs and terrorists!”
      These words would apply perfectly to the Sunni terrorists and vigilantes who do all the same things in Indonesia.

      • Valkyrie1604

        I truly understand what you meant about “Indonesian Embassies.”

      • Tatanka

        I am a firm believer that 2 wrongs don’t make it right. Instead, what the Indonesian workers should have forced themselves to enter the consulate compound and then throw a big riot inside, but not outside. I understand what you are saying and it is absolutely true that Indonesian representatives abroad, be they embassies or consulates NEVER serve the people unless it is absolutely necessary. I stand by my earlier comments that they must respect the law of the host country. Otherwise, the entire Indonesian community overseas will be painted with a broad brush. Having said that, I am in agreement with you that the Consulate could have managed the situation better by using number system based on time such that the entire process will be better. Protest if you will against the country’s representative, but respect the host country as well.

        Regarding the Sunni thugs and terrorists, they are hopelessly hypocrites who hide behind the shield of Islam. You will have no agreement from me on this count. In fact, from what I gathered thus far, there are so many organizations in Indonesia using the shield of Islam but behaving as thugs and terrorists. I also learned that they are actually protected by government institutions and some of them actually receiving foreign funding to wreak havoc in the country.

    • Foreskin_Man

      They probably feel there is no law on their side. So they take it into their own hands. I do not blame them. Treat the workers with more respect and it wouldnt come to this.

    • TGIF

      Tatanka…you are calling migrant workers terrorists?? Unruly bunch of people perhaps…

    • GypsyMacaque

      Or, A fox may change it’s skin,but never it’s character.

  • Hypocrite Buster

    That’s sacrilegious to our “pahlawan devisa”. No surprise if that dead TKI will be buried at Kalibata.

  • cara

    really miss Cheryln? while i don’t agree with what these migrant workers did, your generalizing comment (“they aren’t really welcome in other countries”) showed what type of person you are. there are also many Indonesians working as executives in international banks and other institutions abroad btw. please go out and meet more people to open your horizon.

    • Hypocrite Buster

      “there are also many Indonesians working as executives in international banks and other institutions”. As many as the estimated 6 million TKIs abroad?

  • Pelan2

    Indonesian TKI – being abused at home by the authorities before that go and when they return and abused abroad by the RI Embassies – poor people…

  • Aji

    blaming KJRI wont do any good either. do the math. during the day, almost 12.000 TKIs were there, and the consulate was opened till 3 am. Not to defend anyone, but really. do the math. 12k ppl want to be served on a day? to wait for so long, i understand their tense demands, but well…diplomats are human too.

  • meautiayu

    Before blaming TKI, consulate and KBRI, why don’t we take a look at our government. These people do not need to go anywhere to find jobs with decent pay, and promising welfare, if the country provides them. It seems like Indonesia is happy to send more people outside the country as if they would reduce the nation’s burden. Such a shame. They should feel Indonesia as a safe, secured home.

    • Valkyrie1604

      You see, those are the people who believed that they would find comfort among the brotherhood. Evidently not!

      C’mon guys get REAL not Rials.

      • GypsyMacaque

        I like real Rials.Better valued then IDR.

  • Sudi Smith

    But the question is why they wanna be illegal? didn’t they know how important is a document?

  • Duncan

    Sudi

    Because if they are legal they have to hand over an extortionate amount in admin fees to the Indo consulate and Agencies – They are often abused at work and simultaneously extorted (mainly by Indonesians) and when they return to T3 they are brutally extorted and often sexually too by immigration

    By being illegal they keep most of what they earn and transfer cash using the money agents instead of the gov scheme

    Sad, but true

  • Valkyrie1604

    Mostly, if not, all people seeking employment abroad are at the mercy of agents (rogues). Yes, rogues! They rob and steal from the defenseless. Adding insult to in jury, most of these crimes are being committed by people associated with the Government.

    Like Duncan mentioned. Try observe workers returning home. They are forced to “pay” from the time they disembark until they arrive at the doorsteps of their homes.

    Yes! Yes! Yes! The authorities are definitely aware of this but how do you eradicate it if the perpetrators are the authorities themselves?

    For example: A maid goes to Singapore for employment. If she is selected, her wages are generally being deducted for up to one year before she can feel end enjoy the fruits of her labor. The deductions are to pay for many costs. Yet, thousands of these ladies will tempt themselves to go through a painful period. Not all will make it and it is a sorry situation because there will be repercussions.

    Those that are able to carry on will return after probably two years with an estimated amount of between 40 – 45 juta. The “blood suckers” at the airport know this. I’ve heard of cases where maids are asked to strip when they deny having any cash with them.

    Many employers in Singapore will open POSB accounts for their maids to deposit their monthly wages. At the end of the contract, they (maids) are advised to remit their money to their account back home. Yes, many Singaporean employers are wise to what can happen to their maids savings upon their return.

    Leeching from your own kind…….truly blood suckers.

    • GypsyMacaque

      Be known to terrorize non-moslim, but also their own brother & sister of Islam.
      Rotten to the core.

    • http://dudeinindo.wix.com/beerz#! Muffinman

      Well said Valkyrie. TKI represent one of Indonesia’s best exports. They reduce unemployment figures at home and they send practically all of their earnings back to Indonesia.
      There really needs to be better training and management for these unsung heros. I have personally dealt with the kind of rogue agents you mention and they are some of the greediest scumbags I have ever met.
      They will travel far to poor remote villages and seek out farmers who have too many kids , then draft the less literate ones into a contract where the agent takes more than 50% of the maids entire earnings.
      I met a bunch of maids on a plane on their way to Singapore once. They asked if I could help fill in their immigration cards. I asked ‘Is it because you don’t speak English ?’ No , it was because they could neither read or write. I asked ‘What is the name of the address where you will be working ?’ They had no idea. How they were going to handle their finance , health or basic rights was beyond me. This is like modern day slavery.

  • TGIF

    That will be the day when you will see a Saudi woman working as a janitor wearing a black ninja outfit and the only thing you see are her eyes and a broomstick.

    Why on earth would these undocumented people in dire needs want to set chaos to their own Consulate. Patience wasn’t certainly taught in their faith.

    • GypsyMacaque

      A Ninya indeed only show their eyes. In Japan brandishing a samurai, in Saudi Arabia a janitor kits, broomstick included.

  • TGIF

    Cheryln….Which countries would those be?? So you are saying Indonesians in general aren’t welcome in the whole wide world. You got it all wrong.
    By the way, these are unskilled workers hardly expats and why does it matter anyway…what they did was wrong to create chaos in the heat. But they are actually stepping in the right direction to get their status in order in an embarrassing way for the Indonesian government.

  • shrek.rhoma

    Sudah-lah.. let them start a B2B migration.. truly unfortunate
    its not Back to Bombay tech mid level workers for Indonesia. But it’s Back to Bayuwangi
    for the TKi. These unlikely heroes should have re-educate or retrain themselves
    after finishing a contract. Rather than start the debt to finance the temporary
    migration cycle over again.. Unfortunately no one is giving them any guidance.

  • Lesley Mitchell

    78 are being deported – Will they get a hero’s welcome? Or a kicking from their families ? Or even arrested for tainting the image of Indonesia?
    My guess is they will get ripped off at CGK then all will be forgotten