Commemoration of “Papuan Independence Day” - Police responds with mass arrests and ill-treatment

The national police forcefully dispersed peaceful assemblies in commemoration of the 1st December and arrested 547 protesters in multiple cities of Indonesia. Many indigenous Papuans consider the date as the ‘Papuan Independence Day’. This year marks the 57th anniversary of the first official Morning Star flag raising under the Dutch colonial government. Human rights defenders reported that police officers applied excessive use of force against protesters and bystanders during the arrests in Jayapura. In Surabaya, members of nationalist mass organisations joining a counter rally threw stones at the Papuan protesters, injuring 16 people.

In various cities outside of West Papua, nationalist mass organisations carried out counter protests and backed up police forces during raids. In Tomohon City of Sulawasi Utara Province, joint security forces raided the Papuan student dormitory, where the residents had organised a prayer session in commemoration of the 1st December. The commemorations in Jakarta and Ternate were supported by the solidarity movement FRI-WP (Front Rakyat Indonesia untuk West Papua). Police forces in Jakarta surrounded 140 protesters in front of  the Jakarta Legal Aid Institute (YLBHI Jakarta) in Menteng and prevented them from conducting a protest march to the Dutch Embassy.   

Joint security forces reportedly conducted raids and acts of vandalism in branch offices of the West Papua National Committee (Komite Nasional Papua Barat, KNPB) in various Papuan cities. On 30 December 2018, police forces searched the KNPB office in Waena, Jayapura. The officers allegedly broke facilities and arbitrarily arrested a Papuan man named Larius Heluka who was collecting food for his pig near the KNPB office. Similar acts of vandalism were reported during police raids of KNPB branch offices in Sorong and Timika. In the Asmath regency, police forces allegedly burnt the local KNPB branch office to the ground.

Table with arrests during 1st December commemorations throughout Indonesia

Nr

Place of Arrest (City, Province)

Date of arrest

Number of arrested protesters

Additional information

1

Kupang (Nusa Tenggara Timur Province)

30.11.2018

18

 

2

Ternate (Maluku Province)

01.12.2018

99

 

3

Ambon (Maluku Province)

01.12.2018

43

 

4

Manado (Sulawesi Utara Province)

01.12.2018

27

 

5

Makassar (Sulawesi Selatan Province)

01.12.2018

24

 

6

Surabaya (Java Timur Province)

01.12.2018

233

16 people injured by members of nationalist mass organisations, three among them sustained bleeding head injuries

7

Jakarta

01.12.2018

-

140 protesters were prevented from demonstrating and trapped inside the office of the Jakarta Legal Aid Institute (LBH)

8

Serui, Kepulauan Yapen Regency (Papua Province)

01.12.2018

4

Name of arrestees: Jhon Wenggy, Yulianus Kowela, Monika Imbiri, Viktor Daimboa

9

Jayapura Regency and Municipality (Papua Province)

01.12.2018

89

Arrestees were forced to open their short and hat to lie down on the asphalt, being exposed to the sun, 3 bystanders named Benyamin Lagowan, Hendrikus Madai and Laorens Kerebea were tortured as they watched the mass arrests

10

Asmath Regency (Papua Province)

01.12.2018

10

Police forces burned down the KNPB Asmath branch office

T O T A L

547

 

 

n Surabaya, a group of people joining a counter
rally threw stones at the crowd of around 300 Papuan protesters, injuring 16 people