Saturday, December 1, 2018

1) West Papuans rally for independence from Indonesia


2) Mass arrests over West Papua demos in Indonesian cities

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1) West Papuans rally for independence from Indonesia



A Papuan student holds a banner which reads, 'Free Papuan People', during a rally in Surabaya, East Java, Indonesia. Source: AAP



About 300 West Papuans have staged a rally in Indonesia's second largest city calling for the region's independence.
About 300 West Papuan demonstrators calling for independence for the restive Indonesian region have faced off with counter-protesters in the country's second-largest city.
The demonstrators in Surabaya chanted "Freedom Papua" and held banners demanding a referendum for independence to mark December 1, which many West Papuans consider the anniversary of what they say should have been their independence.
"We are demanding the truth of our history," a speaker shouted at the crowd at the rally, which was organised by the Papua Students Alliance.

"Referendum for independence is the right solution for the people of Papua."
The crowd, including many wearing headbands with the morning star flag as a separatist group symbol, was blocked from marching to the city centre by scores of counter-protesters from several youth organisations in Surabaya, the capital of East Java province.
Some confronted the pro-independence protesters with sharpened bamboos.
"You may rally to voice your aspiration, but don't bring the separatist issue," said a speaker from the rival group. "Papua is a part of Indonesia forever, and we are willing to die to defend the unitary state of Indonesia."
Members of the two camps pushed each other, but several hundred anti-riot police prevented the two groups from clashing, said East Java police spokesman Frans Barung Mangera.
The protest ended after about two hours. No one was detained by police, Mangera said.
The Free Papua Movement, a separatist group in Indonesia's restive Papua province, declared independence from Dutch rule on December 1, 1961. That was rejected by the Dutch and later by Indonesia.
Papua, a former Dutch colony in the western part of New Guinea, was incorporated into Indonesia in 1969 after a UN-sponsored ballot that was seen as a sham by many. A small, poorly armed separatist group has been battling for independence since then.
For years, a low-level insurgency has plagued the mineral-rich region, which is ethnically and culturally distinct from much of Indonesia.
Indonesia's government, which for decades had a policy of sending Javanese and other Indonesians to settle in Papua, is now also trying to spur economic development to dampen the separatist movement.

Source AAP - SBS
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https://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/377270/mass-arrests-over-west-papua-demos-in-indonesian-cities
2) Mass arrests over West Papua demos in Indonesian cities
10:40 pm on 1 December 2018
There have been mass arrests of people demonstrating in cities across Indonesia to mark the anniversary of a declaration of independence by West Papuans.
It's 57 years since the Papuan Morning Star flag was first flown officially when the indigenous people of the former Dutch New Guinea declared independence.
There have been mass arrests of people demonstrating in cities across Indonesia to mark the anniversary of a declaration of independence by West Papuans.
It's 57 years since the Papuan Morning Star flag was first flown officially when the indigenous people of the former Dutch New Guinea declared independence.

Demonstrations to mark the anniversary occur annually in Papua region, other parts of Indonesia, and in cities around the world.
Indonesian police and security forces were out in large numbers to crack down on the demonstrations which have grown in recent years in non-Papuan cities.
Dozens of demonstrators, not restricted to Papuans, were arrested in each event in cities including Kupang, Ambon, Surabaya and Ternate.
In Ternate, around a hundred are reported to have been taken into custody.
Demonstrators in Jakarta and Yogyakarta faced opposition by security forces.
In Surabaya, hundreds of West Papuan students were met with violent opposition by nationalist paramilitary forces, leaving around sixteen demonstrators injured.
Meanwhile, there were the usual high numbers of arrests over demonstrations in the urban centres of Papua and West Papua.
Around 80 people are reported to have been arrested in Papua's provincial capital Jayapura, where the headquarters of one of the main pro-independence organisations, the West Papua National Committee, or KNPB, was raided.
Premises of the KNPB's secretariat were also targetted by security forces in several Papuan cities or towns, including Timika, Sorong and Asmat.
This follows recent raids by police on KNPB activities in Jayapura.
Demonstrations to mark the anniversary were also held in several cities in Australia and New Zealand.

1961's declaration of Papuan independence was the following year eclipsed by a US-brokered agreement between the Dutch and Jakarta which paved the way for an Indonesian takeover.
The Morning Star flag is outlawed in Indonesia, and Papuans caught raising it publicly have been given prison sentences of up to fifteen years.

Melanesian voyage

As the demonstrations took place, a traditional double-hulled canoe, the Wairon, making a symbolic journey from the far west of New Guinea to its eastern-most tip approached its destination.
The Wairon's voyage from Sorong in West Papua to Samarai in Papua New Guinea is promoting cultural solidarity between the indigenous Melanesians of both sides of New Guinea.
A spokesman for the crew said human rights and self-determination issues in West Papua highlighted the importance of people on that side maintaining contact with Papua New Guineans.
The canoe was due to arrive at its destination in PNG's Milne Bay province before sunset on December 1st.
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