Commemorations of Papuan independence Proclamation – Protesters face intimidation and restrictions on freedom of assembly

The Papuan Student Alliance (AMP), the Indonesian Peoples Front for West Papua (FRI West Papua) and the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP) organized demonstrations in commemoration of the 48th anniversary of the West Papuan Independence proclamation. On 1 July, students, sympathizers and political activists joined the peaceful demonstrations in 13 cities all over Indonesia, including Ambon, Ternate, Makassar, Bali, Malang, Semarang and Surabaya. The protesters demanded the Government to respect the freedom of expression and freedom of assembly, stop ruthless natural resource exploitation and reduce the military presence in West Papua. The AMP reported that all demonstrations were strictly monitored by large numbers of police officers (see intro image). In some cities, the police prevented the demonstrations and blocked protesters from accessing public areas.

In Surabaya, the police prevented a group of Papuan students from leaving the student dormitory. Six protesters were arrested and later released. The police chief of Tampaksari Sub-district police declared the demonstration illegal, although the students had submitted an information letter to the local police. Police officers and nationalist mass organizations (ORMAS) in Semarang and Bali intimidated the protestors and subsequently dispersed the crowd.