Tight security separates President from Papuans

Tight security separates President from Papuans

, 22 November 2010

Tight security surrounding President Susilio Bambang Yudhoyono during his visit to Jayapura yesterday has drawn disappointment from several Papuans who had hoped to catch a glimpse of their leader and his wife First Lady Ani Kristianti.

“The security was so tight, we were having difficulty moving close, let alone seeing him,” Yulinda Safaar, a citizen of Youtefa, Abepura, said as quoted by Antara news agency.

Despite her disappointment, Yulinda said she understood the need for the President’s security.

Lipiyus Biniluk, the pastor of Sinode Injili Church in Indonesia in Papua province, in Sentani, said on Sunday that he hoped the visit would resolve special autonomy [Otsus] problems.

“We were hoping that this visit would provide solutions for the problems in Papua, especially regarding the implementation of Otsus if possible,” he said.

Lipiyus said Papuan civilians were still staging rallies against special autonomy.

He said the protesters felt that special autonomy did not benefit the majority of indigenous Papuans who lived inland.

“It’s an honor for us [to welcome] the President who has taken the time to come and see the situation in Papua”, he said.

The President was scheduled to officiate the National Student Executive Board conference at Cendrawasih University today.

Members of the Mobile Brigade, Papua regional police and the Indonesian Military (TNI), were seen standing guard along Jl. Abepura, which the President’s motorcade would take to reach Cendrawasih University.

Security personnel were also seen along the way to the auditorium, where the National Student Executive Board conference was to be held.

The police were checking every participant, including journalists, guests and students, who would participate in activities involving the President.

Members of the TNI and the police in uniform and plain clothes were seen at almost every location the President was to visit.