Students in Malang, Makassar and Bali demand the investigation of human rights violations in WP – two demonstrations dispersed

Members of the Papuan Student Alliance (AMP) and the Indonesian Peoples’ Front for West Papua (FRI-WP) organised peaceful protests in the Indonesian cities Denpasar (Bali), Makassar (South Sulawesi) and Malang (East Java). The demonstrations in Bali and Makassar were dispersed by local police forces. The protests were launched in commemoration of West Papua’s independence proclamation by the Free West Papua Organisation (OPM) on 1 July 1971 and the Biak massacre on 6 July 1998. The latter is one of many past gross human rights violations in West Papua, whose processing by a human rights court is still pending.

Police forces dispersed a student protest in Makassar on 1 July 2020. The officers claimed that the students violated the COVID-19 protocol. According to the AMP, the participants reportedly used masks and complied with distancing regulations. The police officers took the protesters into temporary custody when clashes with members of the nationalist pro-government organisation Pancasila Youth (Pemuda Pancasila) took place. Police trucks brought them to the office of the Makassar Legal Aid Institute (LBH Makassar) where they were released. A similar protest in Malang took place without major interferences (see intro image, source: Jubi). The students were able to make orations even though the demonstration was closely monitored by a large number of police officers.

Police forces forcefully dispersed the protest in Denpasar on 6 July 2020 with water cannons. The Chairperson of the Bali Legal Aid Institute (LBH Bali), Ni Kadek Vany Primaliraning, confirmed in an interview with the media outlet Coconuts Bali that some protesters were beaten by police members. The protesters demanded Indonesian authorities to investigate and legally process the Biak massacre and other past gross human rights violations in West Papua.