Personnel from Batam Immigration Office in Riau Islands province are looking for two foreign nationals who allegedly joined a protest by ride-hailing application drivers in front of the Batam mayor’s office and the Batam Council (DPRD) in the city on Tuesday.
The two men were seen taking part the protest by hundreds of drivers from online-based transportation services and took photos along with other protestors, Batam Immigration Office head Lucky Agung Binarto said.
A team had started to look for the two foreigners, believed to be from the United States, as they appeared to have violated their visit permits.
Lucky said the immigration personnel made the move after noticing their presence from local media reporting on the protest. The news reported that the two men gave their support to the drivers saying that they too used the application. Their photos taking part in the protest and wearing GoJek jackets were also shown on local news outlets.
They then left the vicinity while hundreds of drivers continued their protest.
Lucky said the two men allegedly violated the 2011 Immigration Law that restricts foreigners from conducting activities outside their permits, especially taking part in protests.
The online transportation drivers staged the protest demanding the Batam administration and DPRD guarantee their right to work without being intimidated by conventional public transportation operators. Protests against online transportation have been going on in the city for the past year where conventional drivers such as ojek (motorcycle taxi), public minivan and taxi drivers have complained about their reduced income since the emergence of the online services.