Protests against formation of Papua Tengah Province continue – Thousands of people in Dogiyai go to the streets

Thousands of people from 11 districts in the Dogiyai Regency have peacefully protested against establishing a new Province in West Papua on 22 February 2021 (see photos, source: Yamoye 'Ab). The protesters also rejected building a district police headquarter (Polres Dogiyai) in Dogiyai. The formation of the new 'Papua Tengah Province' is championed by a handful of people under the Meepago Regent Association's lead, while the majority of West Papuans is against the administrative partition. The regents from Nabire, Dogiyai, Deiyai, Paniai, Intan Jaya, Mimika and Puncak support the administrative partition as it opens up a wide range of opportunities for a small political elite in West Papua.

The protest was joined by a wide range of stakeholders, including civil servants, tribal and religious leaders in Dogiyai, members of the teacher association PGRI, the West Papua National Committee (KNPB), and other civil society groups. The masses walked to the local parliament, where the protesters made orations and spoke with local parliament representatives.

The Vice-chairman of the Dogiyai parliament, Simon Petrus Pekei, spoke to protesters outside the parliament building. He declared that the parliament had already discussed the establishment of the new province and rejected the plans. He added that the parliament had also never agreed to build a district headquarter in Dogiyai. He explained that the idea of building a Polres Dogiyai was brought up by a team of delegates from the National Police (Mabes Polri) during a meeting with local parliament members. Pekei said, the lawmakers rejected the suggestion because the people in Dogiyai had never asked to establish a new police headquarter.

Images of the demonstration in Dogiyai on 22 February 2021 (source: Yamoye ‘Ab)

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