"I noticed demonstrations against the job creation law that basically took their roots from disinformation and hoaxes about the substance of the law circulating in social media", the president said in a video message from the State Palace in Jakarta.
Indonesian President Joko Widodo came under increasing pressure to repeal his new controversial jobs law on Friday, with union and Muslim groups preparing to challenge it in court and some regional leaders publicly opposing the legislation.
Critics of the omnibus law, which revises more than 70 existing laws to accelerate reform of Southeast Asia's largest economy, say it is too pro-business with its removal of labour protections and relaxation of environmental rules. "We believe it's important to provide the right information so as to avoid misinf".
The Confederation of Indonesian Trade Unions, known as KSPI, said about 2 million workers representing 32 labor unions would take part in mass rallies and strikes in various cities for several days starting Tuesday.
According to footage of the protest, the police had fired tear gas at the protesters gathered outside the presidential palace and the demonstrators threw rocks at the police in retaliation. He said authorities are still investigating the violence in Bekasi in which both students and police were injured.
Almost 13,000 police deployed Thursday to block access to government buildings in central Jakarta failed to stop protesters from making their way to the heart of the capital.
Smaller protests also occurred in other Indonesian cities, including in Jakarta's satellite cities of Tangerang and Bekasi where large factories are located, and many cities on Sumatra and Sulawesi islands.
Nonetheless, the manner in which the law was passed has caused major concern and "shocked everybody", according to Susi Dwi Harijanti of Bandung's Padjadjaran University, who stated that Parliament was normally slow to pass such kinds of legislation.
Indonesian Police and protesters clashed in Jakarta on the third day of the demonstrations against a "job creation" omnibus bill.
Fears grew of a surge in coronavirus cases from the protests, which are being held as infection rates are rising in many areas.
"We ask that the law be repealed immediately", he said. "The workers are already suffering a lot from the COVID-19 crisis". They likewise fired water cannon to distribute the crowd.
At least six provincial governors have said they would pass on protesters' demands to the president or publicly opposed the law.
The law also scraps the minimum amount of capital needed to establish a company, and eases requirements to set up a cooperative as well.