7 May 2012

Soldier assaulted as thousands of Papuans take to the streets on May Day

Detik News - May 1, 2012

Peringati 1 Mei, Pendemo di Papua Pukul Seorang Anggota TNI - detikNews. Selasa, 01/05/2012

Chazizah Gusnita, Jakarta -- May 1 is not just for celebrating International Labour Day. In Papua, people commemorated May as the day Papua was annexed into the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia (NKRI). More than 1300 people took to the streets.

"In Sentani (the number of protesters was) 300 people, and in Jayapura around 1000", said Papua regional police public relations chief Senior Commissioner Johannes Nugroho when contacted by Detik.com on Tuesday May 1.

According to Nugroho, the protesters in Sentani held a protest action at the grave of Papuan figure Theys Hiyo Eluay. Meanwhile the protesters in Jayapura demonstrated in the Kotaraja area. After several hours they shifted to Jayapura.

"In Kotaraja (they have been demonstrating) since 2pm local time. They then moved off to Jayapura. The action is continuing in Jayapura and is still peaceful", he said.

When the demonstrators were marching from Kotaraja towards Jayapura, the demonstrators assaulted a member of the Indonesian military (TNI). The reason of the assault is still unclear.

"We have not yet arrested the perpetrators because there are a huge numbers of protesters. A local person was also assaulted by demonstrators in the middle of the street", he explained.

A Detik.com source at the Cenderawasih regional military command (Kodam) meanwhile said a member of the headquarters detachment was assaulted by a demonstrator from the West Papua National Committee (KNPB). The person concerned was rescued and has returned home.

Earlier, the Papuan regional police prohibited the KNPB from demonstrating today. Last week however, the KNPB insisted that they would go ahead with the planned actions. (gus/nrl)

[Slightly abridged translation by James Balowski.]


13 arrested on May 1 as thousands of Papuans demand independence

Viva News - May 1, 2012

1 Mei, Ribuan Warga Papua Tuntut Kemerdekaan - VIVAnews. Selasa, 1 Mei 2012

Elin Yunita Kristanti, Banjir Ambarita (Papua) -- Hundreds of Morning Star flags of various sizes were flown when thousands of Papuans held a protest action to demand national independence for Papua in Manokwari, West Papua, on Tuesday May 1.

The protesters held a long-march around Manokwari city carrying hundreds of Morning Star flags -- the symbol of Papuan independence -- as a call for and demand on the Indonesian government to immediately restore the sovereignty and independence of the Papuan nation.

According to the demonstrators, the dialogue offered by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono is not a solution to resolve all the problems in Papua. Although the Morning Star flag was flown openly, police took no action whatsoever.

The long-march began at the Papuan Traditional Council (DAP) office on Jl. Trikora Wosi then proceeded through Jl. Yos Sudarso and Jl. Merdeka and ended in Kwawi. Traffic in Manokwari city was totally paralyzed by the protest action.

13 arrested

The Morning Star flag was also flown during a protest at the grave of Papuan figure They H Eluay in Sentani, Jayapura. In the end police moved in and pulled down the flags after deploying troops and a Barracuda armored vehicle. As many as 13 people were arrested and taken in for questioning by the Jayapura municipal police.

Papua regional police spokesperson Assistant Superintendent Yohanes Nugroho Wicaksono, when sought for confirmation as he was taking part in securing a protest in the vicinity of Imbi Park in Jayapura city, confirmed the arrests. "Yes, there were 13 people arrested because they flew flags that were similar to the Morning Star, but there status is still as witnesses", he said.

According to Wicaksono, actions in which the Morning Star flag was flown took place in several Papuan regencies including Manokwari, Biak, Sorong, Jayapura and Jayapura city, in which thousands demanded Papuan independence.

"The protest actions in these regencies definitely had no permits, because the organisations that held the actions, are not registered with the National Unity and Social Protection Agency (Kesbang Linmas), but we still tolerated them, as long as they did not disturb the public order", he asserted.

Flying the Morning Star flag is in fact a criminal violation, although the only people arrested were those in Sentani. "In other areas meanwhile, it is currently under investigation", he added.

The protest actions were still continuing as this report was filed. (umi)

[Slightly abridged translation by James Balowski.]

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