Indonesia celebrated its 71st anniversary of independence from Dutch rule on 17 August, with ceremonies, games and fun activities organised around the country to celebrate the national public holiday.
A ceremony took place in Jakarta, where dancers, musicians, horses and president honour guards all took part, while Indonesian student Nilam Sukmapawening was handed the national flag as part of the parade. Outside the ceremony, people participated in 'Panjat Pinang' – which involves climbing a tall, greased pole which have vouchers stuck around a ring at the top. Once collected, the vouchers are exchanged for prizes.
On 16 August, Indonesian President Joko Widodo said in his annual national address, which marks Indonesia's 71st independence celebrations, that the country was actively involved in helping to resolve territorial disputes in the South China Sea, and that it would continue to tackle militant activity. "Indonesia continues to be actively involved in conflict resolution in the South China Sea through peaceful negotiations after the international court ruling in the Hague," Widodo told ministers and members of parliament, referring to last month's ruling in the Hague that China had no historic title over the busy waterway and had breached the Philippines' sovereign rights there.
Aside from the parades and dancing, the country marked it's Independence Day by sinking 60 foreign ships, which were seized for fishing illegally in the country's waters. Maritime and Fisheries Minister Susi Pudjiastuti said the ships were sunk at eight locations across the Indonesian archipelago. Widodo has taken a hardline stance against illegal fishing, partly driven by the need for Indonesia to show its neighbours, including China, that it is in control of its vast territory of 17,000 islands.