‘Misunderstanding’ led to hundreds of delivery drivers swarming noodle restaurant in Yogyakarta

A massive crowd of motorcycle taxi/delivery drivers (locally known as ojol) swarmed Mie Gacoan, a popular Yogyakarta noodle chain restaurant, on Saturday, in a show of protest against the mistreatment of gig workers. Screenshots from Twitter/@merapi_uncover
A massive crowd of motorcycle taxi/delivery drivers (locally known as ojol) swarmed Mie Gacoan, a popular Yogyakarta noodle chain restaurant, on Saturday, in a show of protest against the mistreatment of gig workers. Screenshots from Twitter/@merapi_uncover

A massive crowd of motorcycle taxi/delivery drivers (locally known as ojol) swarmed a popular Yogyakarta noodle chain restaurant on Saturday, in a show of protest against the mistreatment of gig workers.

The tension was triggered by a video that showed Mie Gacoan employees from the Gondokusuman district outlet scolding several ojol drivers, allegedly because the latter’s orders were canceled due to long waiting time. Though the drivers had reportedly waited for up to two hours, they accused the restaurant of prioritizing direct customers who came after them. 

The situation then escalated when a number of Mie Gacoan employees and ojol drivers got into a physical altercation, later prompting other ojol drivers ⁠— reportedly numbering in the hundreds, or in the thousands by some accounts ⁠— to swarm the location in the evening. Some of the restaurant’s properties, such as tables and seats, were damaged in the raid.

Gondokusuman sub-precinct chief Surahman said on Sunday that the police facilitated a mediation between the two parties on Saturday evening. Surahman said the initial friction was caused by a “misunderstanding” regarding food orders, and clarified that there was no brawl between Mie Gacoan employees and ojol drivers.

No charges were filed following the incident.

The Gondokusuman outlet of Mie Gacoan, which is popular for its relatively affordable spicy mie ayam (chicken noodles), has been closed until further notice, with police having put up a police line around the site. Surahman further urged restaurants to provide optimal service for all customers, and to ensure that they limit the number of patrons with COVID-19 still very much around.

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