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Indonesians protest at Jeddah consulate


Workers have queued outside government offices and some consulates for days on end.

June 10, 2013 2:19 by

Latest Update: 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 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.

Roughly five thousand Indonesian workers protested outside their consulate in Jeddah on Sunday, setting fire to the building’s outer wall and clashing (briefly) with security forces.

Frustrated by long waits and queues, protestors entered the consulate and caused a stampede.  Nawaf al-Booq, a Jeddah police spokesperson told Reuters that some people suffered mild injuries, but protesters had later dispersed ‘peacefully’ and the fire outside the consulate was put out.

“Workers were throwing stones and water bottles at police, who shot into the air,” said a witness who did not want to be named, according to Reuters.

Workers have queued outside government offices and some consulates for days on end over recent weeks, often sleeping outside the offices to keep their place in line.

Hundreds of thousands of foreign workers in Saudi are trying to rectify their immigration status or leave the country before July 3, when the government will resume a crackdown on illegal labour.

Later on Sunday, hundreds of Indonesians were still waiting near the building peacefully, some of them apparently staying in a nearby empty lot where 20 to 30 tents had been set up, a witness said. Food was being distributed and people were selling bottles of water and other goods.

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