Monday, September 16, 2013

Indonesian police fire teargas on peaceful West Papua rally, arrest 21

Police fire teargas on protesters in Jayapura. Photo: Jubi/Arnold Belau
From Tabloid Jubi in Jayapura (translated from Bahasa)

POLICE have fired teargas on dozens of West Papuan peaceful demonstrators marking International Democracy Day at Waena in the capital of Jayapura.

Tabloid Jumi said 21 people were arrested at the rally, organised by the local chapter of the West Papua National Committeee (KNPB)

"We gave a five-minute warning for the KNPB to disband because this demo did not not permission from us," said Wakapolresta Jayapura Kiki Kurnia to Wim Rocky Medlama, a KNPB spokesperson.

When the protesters did not retreat, Jayapura police seized the demonstration command car and this triggered chaos.

The police fired tear gas over the demonstrators’ heads.

"We were forced to fire tear gas at the demo," Wakapolresta Jayapura Kiki Kurnia told reporters.

After firing tear gas, five members of KNPB Jayapura Police officers secured the Jayapura Police Station.
The Brisbane demonstration on September 2.
Photo: Green Left

KNPB’s Wim said: "We did a demo to commemorate the international day of democracy, but police forcibly dispersed and arrested 21 of our members members at three demonstrations."

Green Left reports:
Supporters of the West Papua Freedom Flotilla to West Papua, including the Brisbane Aboriginal Sovereign Embassy, gathered outside the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Brisbane oearlier this month.

They were protesting against the arrest of four supporters of the Freedom Flotilla in the West Papuan city of Sorong on August 28 and who are now facing charges of treason for raising the banned West Papuan Morning Star flag.

According to Papuans Behind Bars, there are 57 Papuans imprisoned for simple acts of cultural and political expression.

Despite this and documented extrajudicial killings and torture, Australia continues to fund, train and supply the Indonesian military and police.

Amnesty International has called on the Indonesian authorities to drop the charges.

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