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ASEAN Literary Festival continues, holds discussions on 1965 tragedy

The ASEAN Literary Festival 2016 continues as its second day on Friday saw a varied discussion about voicing social issues despite protests from several groups at the festival's opening.

The event held at Taman Ismail Marzuki ( TIM ) in Central Jakarta on Friday started from morning to evening, included a book launching from author Syarifudin Yunus, poetry readings, several kids program, literary workshops, discussions on the 1965 communist purge and also a special session bring two prominent Indonesian poets together, Sapardi Djoko Damono and Joko Pinurbo.

On the 1965 tragedy, the organizers held a discussion entitled "Ingat65: Remembering the 1965 tragedy through digital story telling".

Despite protests from several groups, such as the Alliance of Muslim People and Students demanding police to shut down the event on its opening day on Thursday, the committee continued on with the annual event.

The organizers were the ones who decided to include a session on the country's darkest event, said program director and novelist Okky Puspa Madasari.

Aside from discussion on 1965 , the festival will also address several controversial subjects, including lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender ( LGBT ) and sexuality issues.

LGBT and communism related issues had been behind the protests against the annual literary event, which first started in 2014.

The protesters slammed the organizers for having a hidden agenda of championing communist ideas, provoke separatism and promote the LGBT community, said Sahril member of the Alliance of Muslim People and Students on Thursday.

Jakarta Police chief Insp. Gen. Moechgiyarto said on Thursday that Police would not ban the event as it consisted a series of discussions. Moreover, the organizers had also been granted a permit to hold the four-day event from May 5 to 8 at TIM.

Dozens of police personnel guarded the TIM area on Friday such as the venue of each discussion to prevent any unwanted trouble occurring.

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