JAKARTA, KOMPAS.com – Indonesia celebrated its 75th independence day in Merdeka Palace in a low-key ceremony in the capital amid the Covid-19 pandemic on Monday, August 17.
The national ceremony was modest as the country deals with more than 139,500 Covid-19 cases, the second highest in Southeast Asia after the Philippines. It was a solemn one nevertheless.
In previous years, the Palace had always invited citizens from all walks of life to participate in the ceremony with more invitees from the general public than officials. This year, however, the general public was left out in the invite list due to strict physical distancing measures at the ceremony.
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Everyone was still invited to take part in the virtual commemoration ceremony of the Independence Day. There were 17,845 slots provided to attend the online ceremony of the 75th Indonesian Independence Day.
Livestreaming was also done via YouTube channel and the national television stations. A new tradition was introduced this year as the Indonesian people were called on to take a moment to pause for three minutes at 10:17am and stand up solemnly when the national anthem “Indonesia Raya” was played.
Only six VIPs in attendance
High-ranking officials who came to the Merdeka Palace were also limited as per a circular of the commemoration of the 75th Indonesian Independence Day issued by the State Secretary Pratikno.
Acted as the ceremony inspector was President Joko Widodo, who was wearing traditional East Nusa Tenggara attire. The president came with First Lady Iriana and accompanied by Vice President Ma’ruf Amin and his wife Wury Estu Handayani.