Protest in Support of Papuan Independence Ends in Clashes, Arrests PDF Afdrukken E-mailadres
dinsdag 15 augustus 2017 06:00

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Jakarta. A march in support of Papuan independence in Central Jakarta on Tuesday afternoon (15/08) ended with the arrest of several protesters and allegations of police brutality.

"This protest is simultaneously taking place in 11 cities across Indonesia," Papuan Student Alliance (AMP) activist Frans Nawipa told the Jakarta Globe during the event. He alleged that protesters at similar actions in other cities were assaulted by police.

Frans said the 1969 Act of Free Choice (Pepera) was invalid and urged the government to hold a new independence referendum for all Papuans. Pepera refers to a series of eight regional assemblies from July to August 1969, on which the government bases its assertion that the people of Papua decided to relinquish their sovereignty in favor of Indonesian citizenship.

Protesters were planning to march from the busy Hotel Indonesia traffic circle to the State Palace, but police prevented them from doing so.

"We are conducting peaceful resistance; we don't want any violence. We have a permit to hold the protest, why wouldn't you let us through?" one of the protesters told police.

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Police officers try to prevent protesters from marching to the State Palace from the Hotel Indonesia roundabout in Central Jakarta on Tuesday (15/08). (JG Photo/Dames Alexander Sinaga)

A senior police officer tried to negotiate with the protesters to remain at the starting point, but they refused to comply, resulting in clashes and subsequent arrests.

One protester said police refused to allow them to march to the State Palace because of the preparations currently underway for Independence Day.

The protestors also expressed their dissatisfaction with the Indonesian government over high levels of poverty among the people of Papua, despite the region's abundant natural resources.