International Women’s Day (IWD) was commemorated in the East Java provincial capital of Semarang on Friday March 8 by the Equality Alliance Front (Aliansi Barisan Kesetaraan, ABK) – an alliance of several organisations and individuals in Semarang fighting for women’s liberation and other oppressed groups.
The protesters, who rallied under the theme of “Fight the Culture of Patriarchy and Destroy Capitalism”, also called on people to fight against sexism, fascism, bigotry, racism and homophobia, to support the Draft Law on the Elimination of Sexual Violence (RUU PKS), rights for women workers, domestic workers, migrant workers and sex workers, safe spaces for women, reproductive education and the right to self-determination for the people of West Papua.
Around 60 demonstrations began gathering at the Diponegoro Statue on Jl. Pahlawan at around 7.30 am then marched to Simpang Lima. As they moved off police tried to stop the command vehicle from leading the march but eventually gave into the protester's wishes.
On several occasions during the march, there were people who tried to provoke the demonstrators by blowing their horns and making insulting body gestures. The protesters however refused to be provoked and continued with the action.
The demonstrators stopped briefly at Sampang Lima to give speeches in front of the rally and people passing by, and then returned to the Diponegoro Statue.
There, representatives of the different groups as well as individuals took turns in giving speeches as well have holding a theatrical action which was prepared by the Papua Student Alliance (AMP).
The action ended at 10.30 am and was closed with the reading out of a statement of demands and the recording of a video declaring support for the ratification of the RUU PKS and in solidarity with human rights activist Robertus Robet who was arrested in Jakarta the day before for allegedly insulting the TNI (Indonesian military). (h, na)
[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was “Hari Perempuan Internasional di Semarang”.]