Police disperses two peaceful demonstrations in Jayapura - 93 protesters arrested

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Activists from the Papuan Democratic Peoples Movement (Garda Papua) and students from the Jayapura University for Science and Technology (USTJ) have reported that local police forces in Jayapura dispersed two demonstrations and arrested 93 protesters. GARDA Papua had organized a peaceful protest on 3 September 2018, demanding the closing of the Freeport Mine in Tembaggapura, the demilitarization of West Papua and the construction of the market for indigenous Papuan women. On the following day, 4 September 2018, supporters of the ‘United Liberation Movement for West Papua’ (ULMWP) gathered in Sentani and the USTJ Campus in Abepura. The protest was carried out in support of Vanuatu and other Pacific island countries to raise the issue of self-determination for West Papua at the upcoming Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) meeting, which is currently taking place in Nauru until 9 September 2018 (see intro image).

 Arrest of Garda Papua supporters
Garda ArrestsOn 3 September 2018, Garda Papua supporters gathered at the Cenderawasih University (UNCEN) Campus, Merpati and at EXPO Waena. The protesters planned to march from the meeting points in Waena to Abepura. Between 08.50 am and 09.30 am police forces from the Jayapura Municipality Police (POLRESTA Jayapura) arrested 14 protesters - three at Merpati, five at UNCEN (see image on the right) and six at EXPO Waena – and temporarily detained them at the municipality police station in Jayapura. All arrested protesters were released at 02.25 pm.

Table with names of arrestees

1

Kanibal Lokbere

8

Jhon Ciko

2

Geri Kabak

9

Zet En

3

Yali Wamo

10

Wille G

4

Maria Beanal (female)

11

Riko Kobogau

5

Tresya Magai (female)

12

Lanine Lani

6

Freedom Isataplo

13

Ferry Bokogau

7

Angkrek Bagaobau

14

Memo Hagisimijau

 

Mass arrests during ULMWP demonstration
ULMWP USTJ ArrestsOn 4 September 2018, at 09.00 am, students and activists with banners gathered at the USTJ University campus in Abepura, listening to political orations. At 11.00 am, three police trucks from the crowd control unit DALMAS, two patrol vehicles and 2 pick-up trucks arrived at the USTJ campus (see image on the right). The police officers arrested 34 protesters and brought them to the municipality police station in Jayapura. Police officers allegedly beat some of the protesters with rattan sticks during the arrest. Simultaneously, the police arrested 45 protesters in the nearby town Sentani (Jayapura Regency) at the Pos 7 junction. The head of the Jayapura regency district police, Victor Makbon, stated in an interview with the media outlet Tabloid Jubi, that the demonstration was not permitted because it did not meet the ‘requirements’.      

Table with names of protesters, arrested at USTJ Campus, Abepura

1

Antonius Agapa (student at USTJ)

18

Lao Mabel (student at USTJ)

2

Melkisedek Hisage (student at USTJ)

19

Apkol Uropmabin (student at USTJ)

3

Muru Wenda (student at USTJ)

20

Manus Gombo (student at USTJ)

4

Adrianus Awunim (student at USTJ)

21

Yus Agus Kobepa (student at USTJ)

5

Andrianto Tekege (vocational highschool student)

22

Alfando Kogoya (student at USTJ)

6

Ermes Morib (student at USTJ)

23

Agustinus Goo (student at USTJ)

7

Aquino Youw (student at Umel Mendiri University)

24

Lives Mabel (student at USTJ)

8

Ermes Morib (student at USTJ)

25

Fernando Waine (student at USTJ)

9

Fredy Wesli (student at USTJ)

26

Yan Elopere (student at USTJ)

10

Laurens Siep (student at USTJ)

27

Fortunatis D. Borom (student at USTJ)

11

Aloisius Alua (student at USTJ)

28

Malvin Yobe (student at USTJ)

12

Herry Siep (student at USTJ)

29

Iche Murib (activist)

13

Filemus W. Pahabol (student at USTJ)

30

Simion Daby (activist)

14

Aleks Giay (youth)

31

Kiwun Towolom (activist)

15

Yusuf Yikwa (student at USTJ)

32

Dimius Towolom (student)

16

Jhon Douw (youth)

33

Daniel Kudiay (youth)

17

Evensius Kowawin (student at USTJ)

34

Jhon Tabuni (youth)

 Background
In West Papua, the police usually uses the lack of a “police acknowledgement letter” (“Surat Tanda Terima Pemberitahuan” STTP) in response to a “notification letter for a demonstration” as reason to declare demonstrations illegal. Human rights activists reported a large number of cases, in which the police did not issue a “police acknowledgement letter” (STTP) in order to prevent particular Papuan civil society groups from the enjoyment of their right to freedom of expression. If demonstrations take place without the ”acknowledgement letter”, security forces frequently disperse protests arguing that the organizing does not have the STTP.

Police officers refuse to issue acknowledgement letters to Papuan civil society groups which are are outspoken supporters of political self-determination, particularly the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP), the West Papua National Committee (KNPB), the West Papua National Authority (WPNA), the West Papua National Parliament (PNWP) and the West Papua National Coalition for Liberation (WPNCL). In the past years, members and supporters of these organisations have been arrested as they conducted peaceful demonstrations, some of them being tortured, ill-treated and criminally prosecuted. In multiple cases, activists were arbitrarily arrested as they submitted the information letter to the local police station.