Muchus Budi R., Solo – International Women’s Day (IWD) which fell on March 8 was commemorated by demonstrations in the Central Java city of Solo. The actions was organised by two small groups with the same aims, opposing fuel price increases which they believe will further worsen the economic conditions of the people. Ambalat1 was no included among the issues raised.
The first action was held by around 40 women calling themselves the Surakarta Women’s Alliance. From observations on the ground, most of them were women who have been active in a number of non-government organisations in Solo.
The demonstration which was held between 9am to 10am on Tuesday March 8 used the Gladag roundabout as the site for the action. As well as unfurling a banner opposing fuel price increases they also distributed leaflets to passersby.
Although there numbers were few, there threats were quite angry. “If the policy (to increase fuel prices) is not withdrawn, we will withdraw the mandate of SBY-Kalla’s [President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono-Vice-president Jusuf Kalla] who have failed to fulfil their promises to bring about better reform, but instead have brought further suffering to the people”, they wrote in their statement.
Several moments after the women’s action dispersed, dozens of students from the Solo University arrived at the Gladag roundabout to demonstrate opposing fuel price increases. The action was also held to commemorate IWD with the group calling itself Women’s Solidarity Against Fuel Price Increases. (nrl)
1. Ambalat – In February a maritime boarder row erupted between Indonesia and Malaysia over an oil-rich offshore area near North-East Kalimantan and the Malaysian state of Sabah. Some believe that the dispute is being used by the military to push for defense budget increases which would be paid for by money saved from the fuel subsidy cuts announced on March 1. Nationalistic rallies around the country also served to divert the public attention away from the fuel subsidy issue.
[Translated by James Balowski.]