Papuan students commemorate 1st July and Biak Massacre in Surabaya, Bandung and Makassar

Papuan student movements in the Javanese cities Bandung and Surabaya organised peaceful assemblies in commemoration of the 1st July, which marks the day of the West Papuan independence proclamation in 1971, and the Biak Massacre, where security forces killed scores of people in the Papuan island of Biak on 6 July 1998. A discussion among students in a Papuan dormitory in Makassar, Sulawesi Selatan Province, was forcefully dispersed by a nationalist-militant group. Police officers failed to protect the students from the mob.

1st July commemorations in Makassar and Bandung
The Papuan Student Alliance (AMP) and the Indonesian Peoples’ Front for West Papua (FRI WP) organised a peaceful march from the Papuan student dormitory to the Governor’s office in Bandung, Java Barat Province, on 1 July 2021. Police forcers allowed the assembly to proceed. All participants reportedly adhered to the Covid-19 health protocol.

A discussion organised by Papuan students at the Dogiyai Dormitory in Makassar ended abruptly after members of the Indonesian Muslim Brigade (BMI) and the Pancasila Youth (Pemuda Pacasila) entered the dormitory with force and dragged participants outside. Several students were reportedly beaten. Pro-government supporters in front of the dormitory allegedly shouted hostile slogans, such as “OPM [Papuan Independence Organisation] supporters” and “terrorists”. According to the Papuan media outlet Suara Papua, police officers watched the incident from a distance but failed to protect the students and arrest the attackers.

Commemoration of Biak Massacre in Surabaya
The AMP also organised a peaceful demonstration in Surabaya, Java Timur Province, on 6 July 2021. The protesters commemorated the Biak Massacre, which cost the lives of dozens of Papuans, while more than 150 others were allegedly tortured and ill-treated by security force members. The perpetrators were never held accountable for the atrocities in a legal court trial. The protesters called upon the Indonesian government to take responsibility for the past atrocities. The protest took place under close observation by at least 40 police officers.