Overview of Occupy Southeast Asia

This post is part of our special coverage #Occupy Worldwide.

‘Occupy’ protests are also spreading in Southeast Asia. Inspired by the global ‘Occupy’ movement, assemblies were organized this month in Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, and Singapore.


The organizers have been actively using the social media to popularize their events. Occupy Dataran in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia aims to create a new movement to explore the true meaning of democracy:

#OccupyDataran is a new independent & autonomous grassroots initiative to reclaim Dataran Merdeka as an open and democratic space for people to gather, discuss and explore the true meaning of democracy beyond the representative system, to redefine democratic participation beyond the ballot box, to imagine a new political culture beyond race, ideology and political affiliation, and also to lepak, spend overnight and dream together at Dataran Merdeka

Occupy Dataran, Malaysia.

Occupy Dataran, Malaysia.

Cindi Loo narrated the events that transpired in OccupyDataran:

The overnight event organised by the KL (Kuala Lumpur) People's Assembly kicked off at around 5pm and lasted all through the night till 4am the next day. 50 people attended at the beginning, and the size grew to 120 people as the night goes on, despite having an event clash with a sponsored cycling event. The KL People's Assembly, which started meeting up weekly since July 30, tried to assemble twice but were stopped by the police force and in both times the assembly dispersed but remained on the square doing other activities such as playing music and games, dance and hold discussions in small circles

The Dataran action has inspired activists in Penang, Malaysia, to organize their own ‘Occupy’ protest:

The spirit of #OccupyDataran & the global #Occupy Movement is spreading to Penang!

On 29th October 2011, join us at Speakers’ Square, Esplanade as we #OccupyPenang for the first time!


Meanwhile, Occupy Jakarta in Indonesia was organized in front of the stock exchange. Below is a short video of one of the assemblies:

It seems the protest didn’t gather many people.

@JohnyGrim: Fact: Today's demos are no fun. Mostly associated with violence & disorder. This should change. Holding out posters is boring #occupyjakarta

@jwolson: Just passed the #OccupyJakarta protest in our way our of the most expensive mall in Indonesia. About 12 college kids sitting in the grass.

Occupy Jakarta. From Facebook page of Har Wib

Occupy Jakarta. From Facebook page of Har Wib


‘Occupy’ protests were organized in Mendiola (near the presidential palace), Cagayan de Oro, Makati, and United States Embassy in the Philippines. The actions merged with the rallies of small farmers who are demanding the implementation of genuine land reform in the country.

Occupy US Embassy in Manila

Occupy US Embassy in Manila

Kapirasong Kritika [fil] believes the ‘Occupy’ protest should be in areas accessible to the people:

Mahirap kung ilulunsad ang protestang Occupy sa Makati na, tulad ng Wall Street, ay sentro ng pampinansyang aktibidad sa bansa. Malayo kasi ito sa malawak na mamamayan na maaasahang lalahok. Maaari ang Maynila para malapit sa mga sentro ng kapangyarihan at tradisyunal na pinagraralihan, tulad ng Mendiola at US Embassy. Pero ang mahalaga ay kung saan ito makakaakit ng malawak na paglahok at suporta ng mga mamamayan.

It's difficult to launch the Occupy protest in Makati which, like the Wall Street, is the center of financial activities in the country. Because it's far from the masses who are expected to participate in the protest. Maybe in Manila so that it's near to the political center and traditional rally areas, like Mendiola and US Embassy. But what's important is to hold them in areas where they can attract widespread participation and support from the people.


Global Voices has already written a post about the zero attendance at the Occupy Singapore action.

This post is part of our special coverage #Occupy Worldwide.


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