Rumondang Naibaho, Jakarta – A demonstration commemorating International Women's Day (IWD) near the Arjuna Horse Statue in Central Jakarta on March 8 became heated after police prevented protesters from approaching the State Palace.
At around 2.33 pm the situation at the location of the action became heated when protesters tried to move towards and approach the nearby State Palace. They urged police to open the road for demonstrators who wanted to give speeches near the Palace.
Some of the demonstrators tried to get past the concrete barriers and razor wire installed on Jalan Medan Merdeka Barat near the Horse Statue. The head of the Gambir sectoral police intelligence and security unit (Kanit) Deputy Police Commissioner Sulistyo tried to hold a dialogue with the demonstrators.
Tough negotiations proceeded for around five minutes but police insisted that they would not open up the road, while the demonstrators continued to push to be allowed to give speeches at the Palace View Park, located not far from the Presidential Palace.
"I've already explained our demands, the location we propose is at the Aspiration Park (Palace View Park), but why were we stopped here. We only want to give speeches, we want to listen, just that, okay", said one of the protesters in an agitated voice.
Today's IWD commemoration was joined by a number of groups that are part of the Women Challenge the State alliance. They include the Indonesian Trade Union Congress Alliance Confederation (KASBI), Greenpeace Indonesia, Women's Narrative (Perempuan Berkisah), the Indonesian Youth Front for Struggle (FPPI), the Indonesian Forum for the Environment (Walhi) and various other community groups.
During the action the alliance conveyed 11 demands:
1. Abolish all forms of injustice, oppression, poverty and violence against women as a consequence of the patriarchal system.
2. Acknowledge, respect, protect and rehabilitate the ordinary people's rights, including women's rights to decent jobs and social protection including healthcare and education, freedom of expression and management of agrarian resources and the environment.
3. Make women's interest an important agenda item in the formulation of future policies, regulations and government programs.
4. Stop the exploitation of women's rights for the interests of political power in procedural politics, and pursue substantial democracy.
5. Halt agrarian liberalisation and other false solutions to inequality and agrarian injustice and the environment by pursuing agrarian reform as the basis for national development.
6. Revoke the Government Regulation in Lieu of Law replacing the Omnibus Law on Job Creation and its derivative policies as well as other problematic regulations that abrogate women's rights to their sources of livelihood, and worsen the climate crisis.
7. Ratify the Draft Law on the Protection of Domestic Workers (RUU PPRT) and other policies and regulations that side with women farmers, workers, fisherpeople, traditional women, rural and urban poor communities, as well as other vulnerable groups.
8. Annul policies that threaten freedom of expression and the press, such as the Information and Electronic Transaction (ITE) Law, which have the potential to violate the right to reproductive health and abrogate women's living space.
9. Cancel the Draft Law on New and Renewable Energy because it perpetuates false solutions to the climate crisis, which will impact on women's lives.
10. Take responsibility for past gross human rights violations, stop the criminalisation of and violence against women human rights defenders and halt the humanitarian crimes in Papua and in all corners of the country.
11. Revoke the Qanun Jinayat (Criminal Code) in Aceh that discriminates against women and Labour Ministry Regulation Number 260/2015 that exploits women migrant workers and other policies that create gender injustice.
[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Ini 11 Tuntutan Massa Demo Peringatan Hari Perempuan Internasional".]