JAKARTA INDONESIA: MAYDAY WORKERS PROTEST
06 May 2004 09:58 GMT
Photos and commentary from one of the many May Day protests that took place in Jakarta Indonesia. Demonstrators representing a diverse array of workers organizations participated, including unions of transportation workers, farm workers, women workers and students activist groups.
The front lines at the presidential palace!
YES to workers rights!
NO to Militarism!
::All 40 photos with captions can be seen at this link along with the following text::
Legitimate worker’s unions are new to Indonesia, gaining the ability to organize after the fall of the US backed dictator General Suharto in 1998. However even today, some six years later, the fight for the right to organize and unionize continues as US and western trade policies still dominate the economic landscape protecting anti-labor business and corporate sweatshops. The following photographs are from a May Day protest in the capital city of Jakarta, it was one of many that took place across the Indonesian archipelagos. Demonstrators representing a diverse array of workers organizations participated, including unions of transportation workers, farm workers, women workers and students activist groups. They not only called for workers rights and a free education system, but also demeaned an end to western imperialism, privatization and militarism at home. Many of the signs, banners and puppets brought attention to the three current leading candidates for the presidency, all of which have deep connections to the brutal Indonesian military. The front-runner, General Wiranto, has been directly implicated (by the UN) in war crimes and massive human rights abuses in East Timor, where one third of the population were massacred. Incidentally he is also running under the banner of Golkar, the party of the ex-dictator. Understandably the activist, union and human rights communities are worried that the election of any one of these three candidates will lead to further repression and possible criminalization of their activities. The harsh climate in the developing world on workers rights makes their struggle all the more important and courageous.
Jonathan McIntosh is a photographer and media activist from Boston, currently working in Jakarta Indonesia. More of his work can be seen at www.capedmaskedandarmed.com