August 17th is Indonesia's National Day, the anniversary of the proclamation of an independent republic in 1945.
August 17th is Indonesia's National Day, the anniversary of the proclamation of an independent republic in 1945. Yesterday, ( Monday ), was the 25th anniversary, and a quarter of a million people celebrated in the streets of the capital, Djakarta. Official celebrations took place outside the Merdeka Palace, in the presence of President Suharto.
In the formal celebrations, the Proclamation of Independence was read by the Speaker of the Indonesian Parliament, Mr. Ahmad Sajaichu, and the red the white national flag of Indonesia was raised outside the Palace.
The procession which followed was a cheerful occasion. It was not a military event. Instead, there were gaily decorated floats, some with vehicles and boats mounted on them. Interspersed with these were groups of musicians and dancers, performing the traditional dances of Indonesia.
President Suharto had made his anniversary speech to the nation the day before. In it, he said Indonesia wanted friendship and co-operation with all countries, Western and Socialist. It was not true he said, that Indonesia's foreign policy was shifting towards the West.
The President also said that Indonesia should aim at becoming more of an industrial country. At present it was too dependent on agricultural and mining exports, which left it at the mercy of the price fluctuations of raw materials on the world market.