More than 100,000 young workers and students hit the streets of Jakarta today to demonstrate for Labour Day, a national holiday here, as elsewhere in the world. The main streets were blocked for the morning as teams of workers carried banners bearing slogans against privatization of state-owned companies, imperialism, opposition to cheap labour and price hikes, and demanding improvement in public welfare. I couldn’t read most of the banners!
Thousands of workers arrived by bus from around Java. The march was peaceful, assisted by a strong army and police presence. We did notice some soldiers tapping their feet in time to the drumming. Chanting, peace signs and smiles made the day quite exhilarating.
We joined in, at first timidly along the fringes, snapping photos, then at the tail end of the march, two radical old Aussies, remembering when Labour Day meant something in our own country and when we used to march for the same reasons.
5 thoughts on “May Day, Jakarta 2015. Workers Unite.”
It’s nice to hear about peaceful protests like this!
Yes, It was very warm and friendly but huge but I know I wasn’t really supposed to be there!!
Love the smiles and the enthusiasm!
Interesting the banners, and protests were about issues current in Australia and much of the rest of the world, maybe the scale-impact-tolerance differs but I could see the benefit worldwide of collectively taking one public holiday a year to stop and think about how we live and future effects. So much is changed-eroded gone before we realize.
I’ve never participated in a protest march, I dislike crowds; your peaceful right place right time experience contrasts very much with my own having been inadvertently caught up in wrong place wrong time violent protests in Union Square in San Francisco in 2000. Even at the periphery, it was quite frightening.
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It is not advisable for tourists to go near any march or demonstration- our government cautions us rather strongly about this -however peaceful looking, but we inadvertently got caught up in this one and I was rather pleased I did, with victory waves and peace signs being thrown around, it took me back to my youth and brought tears to my eyes.
I am a marcher from way back. The Vietnam moratorium marches played a key role in our country withdrawing from that war. When something outrageous happens in society, marching with fellow citizens seems a very good way of expressing an opinion publicly and forcefully. It seems to have more effect and is more ‘newsworthy’ than signing a ‘Getup’ petition. Had I been in Melbourne, I would have attended the rally in Flinders St, protesting about closure of services to remote aboriginal communities.