On 1st Decemeber 1961 the Morning star flag was officially raised for the first time. Since that day, many Papuans commemorate the 1st December as their “Independence Day”. Every year demonstrations and orations take place, which are often violently dispersed by security forces.
The Papuan Students Alliance (AMP) and a group named „Front Rakyat Indonesia“ (Indonesian Peoples’ Front) carried out a joint demonstration in Jakarta on 1st December 2016 . The Indonesian Peoples’ Front, abbreviated as FRI-WP, consists of people from all parts of Indonesia, who share a feeling of solidarity with the indigenous population in West Papua and are committed in the struggle for their right to self determination.
The police responded with water canons to disperse the crowd. 10 people were arrested. “The arrestees were beaten as the police officers checked their identity. Their mobile phones and ID cards were taken away. They were also ill-treated inside the police vehicles” said Veronica Koman from Jakarta Legal Aid Institute LBH Jakarta. Further 200 demonstrators surrendered in protest to the police – all of them were also arrested.
Demonstrations and other initiatives for the commemoration of 1st December did not only take place in Jakarta this year, but also in Makassar, Yogyakarta, Palu, Poso, Ternate, Jayapura, Manokwari, Merauke, Sorong, Timika and Wamena. In Yogyakarta, police officers arrested 14 FRI-WP activists.