Stop branding us as subversives, say Papuans

Stop branding us as subversives, say Papuans


Around two hundred people in Manokwari took to the streets in the city of Manokwari holding aloft banners demanding that indigenous Papuans should stop being branded with the label 'makar' (subversive) every time they take action to express their aspirations.

They also called on the police to withdraw the label 'makar' used for the tribal chief of Mnukwar, Barnabas Mandacan [now facing charges in connection with flag-raising on 1 December 2008] and to free Jack Wanggai and his colleagues now serving sentences in Abepura prison.

The crowd conducted their march till the afternoon, walking from the office of the Mnukwar Traditional Council and along the very busy Yos Suradso Road, in front of the Swiss-Bell Hotel.

Motor-cyclists rode at the head of the demonstration making loud noises by beating things in order to attract the attention of passers-by. They also frequently shouted the word Merdeka [Freedom], which drew support from everyone in the crowd.

The demonstration caused traffic jams and closed off several streets where the traffic normally runs smoothly.

The demonstration that was called on behalf of the indigenous Papuans demanded that the chairman of the Manokwari adat council, Barnabas Mandacan, who is now in police custody should not be charged and that the designation 'tersangka' against him should be withdrawn.

In addition they called for the release of all political prisoners in Papua.

The demonstration proceeded peacefully.