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NEWSPAPER COMMENTARY BY MAX LANE

Several different events were held on March 8 to commemorate International Women’s Day (IWD). Probably the biggest of the street mobilization events was held at the Thamrin-Sudirman roundabout in central Jakarta. At this protest, around 300 people gathered to hear speeches and distribute leaflets to passers bye. The protest had been organized by a coalition of left leaning groups. The main ones were the trade union, KASBI; the Indonesian University Students Union (Sarekat Mahasiswa Indonesia – SMI), the Working Peoples association (Perhimpunan Rakyat Pekerja – PRP), and Freedom Women (Perempuan Mahardika). The biggest contingent was from KASBI.

Later in the day both in this location and at other sites, a range of other activist, lobby, religious and political groups held smaller commemorations.

Women Seize the Night

Probably the biggest event in Jakarta were the two evening performances of Women Seize the Night, a play – or series of three short plays, monologues – performed in the Jakarta Arts Centre on the Saturday and Sunday evenings. About 1,400 people watched the performances.They were widely reported on the electronic as well as in the print media. The organizers held public forums of the future of the women’s movement before the event to generate more discussion around the issue of the oppression and discrimination against women and the state of the women’s movement.

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