Chaos during KNPB Demo: Eleven people arrested

Bintang Papua


[This is how the Indonesian police reported what happened at a peaceful demonstration in Manokwari on 24 October.]

Bintang Papua, 24 October 2012

Chaos during KNPB Demo: Eleven people arrested

[Photo at the top of this article shows a member of Polri, the Indonesian police, holding a kneeling Papuan demonstrator by the back of his collar.]

The public relations officer of the Papuan police force, AKBP I Gede Sumerta Jaya, reported that a demonstration was held for four hours in Manokwari, without police permission in front of the UNIPA campus, Manokwari. The demonstrators were calling for a referendum and were carrying the Morning Star Flag. Following the demonstration the participants walked to the Darul Anum Mosque where speeches were made.
The security forces had to fire warning shots in order to force the demonstrators to disperse when they behaved wildly (secara anarkis) and threw stones at the police who were trying to pacify the demonstrators.
The incident caused widespread traffic congestion.

Four of the demonstrators were hit by gunshots and two police officers were hit by stones and had to be rushed to hospital.

The eleven who were arrested were eventually released after being given warnings.

The police later brought in special staff to investigate when they heard that four demonstrators had been shot.

According to the KNPB (National Committee for West Papua), the demonstration was held to support a meeting of International Parliamentarians for West Papua in London. But the Indonesian embassy in London said that there was no significant meeting in the British Parliament.

According to a report in Bintang Papua, the demonstration proceeding peacefully. Several hundred people took part. Speakers at the demonstration called for independence for the Papuan people and rejected the plan of the Indonesian government to hold a dialogue (sic).

The demonstration was tightly guarded by police security forces, supported by detachment C of Brimob [The elite police force intended to deal with terrorists.] A number of times, the demonstrators called on the police to lift the blockade on the demonstrators but the police refused to do so. The speeches continued while the police blockade remained in place. Missiles were thrown on both sides, but how that began is not clear. As the situation became more chaotic, the police repeatedly shot into the air having been unable to calm the emotions of the crowd. Eventually, there were talks between the two sides and the incident ended peacefully.

Several members of Polri as well as demonstrators are now receiving intensive treatment in hospital.

Altogether eleven demonstrators were arrested and are being interrogated by the police.

A representative of Polri later told journalists about the clashes between the police and the demonstrators, eight of whom were wounded .
Four were hit by guns . The police said that the handling of the demonstrations was in accordance with established police procedures. The police used rubber bullets as well as empty bullets.

A police representative said that the police were not responsible for the medical treatment of the eight civilians, neither those who had been hit by guns nor those who were wounded during the scuffles.

[Translated by TAPOL]