Heru Sri Kumoro, Jakarta – Scores of workers from the Association of Independent Trade Unions (GSBI) commemorated Kartini Day on Sunday April 21 with a protest action at the Hotel Indonesia traffic circle in Central Jakarta.
The protesters called on the public to oppose the government’s planned fuel price hike, for an end to the exploitation of women, an end to discrimination, wage rises for workers and for a reduction in the price of basic goods.
In addition to women wearing traditional kebaya dresses, the protest was also joined by male workers. The protesters took turns in giving speeches. “The government has given us a sweet gift on this commemoration of Kartini Day, namely the planned fuel price hike. Fuel price increases will be followed by a rise in other prices. The people will loose out”, said one of the speakers.
During the action the protesters brought organisational flags and posters with messages such as, “Increase workers’ wages”, “Reject the Social Security Management Agency Law”, “Reject the fuel price hike” and “Stop free trade”.
The action was also held in the context of preparations to commemorate International Labour Day (May Day) on May 1.
Raden Ajeng Kartini was an Indonesian regent’s daughter during the Dutch colonial period who, through her letters home, outlined her dreams of a better life for women. She died aged 25 a few days after giving birth to her first child. A variety of myths have made the original Kartini a nationalist hero and feminist symbol. Hari Kartini (Kartini Day, April 21) is a public holiday dedicated to the memory of the turn-of-the-century hero.
[Buruh Peringati Hari Kartini – Kompas.com. Minggu, 21 April 2013. Translated by James Balowski.]