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Protest action in Semarang calls for end to violence in West Papua

Republika.com - August 30, 2012

Afriza Hanifa, Semarang Ė Scores of Papuan protesters from Papua National Solidarity (NAPAS) held an action in front of the East Java regional police headquarters in the provincial capital of Semarang on Thursday August 30.

The demonstrators called on the Indonesian government to resolve the problem of violence in West Papua, which according to the group has been on-going since Papua became part of the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia (NKRI).

The protesters, who shouted demands calling for and end to violence in Papua, brought a variety of posters and banners with demands such as, "End the violence in Papua", "End military businesses in Papua" and "Provide a chance for democracy in Papua".

Following the action on the grounds of the East Java police headquarters, the protesters, who came from Semarang and the Central Java cities of Salatiga and Yogyakarta, then held a long-march towards Jl. Pahlawan, the location of the regional police office complex and the offices of the East Java governor.

Action coordinator Otis (20) said that the Papuan people have been beset by violence since Papua became part of NKRI. On August 23, a shooting took place in the Paniai-Dogiyai district, which resulted in the death of a police officer, and to this day the perpetrator remains unknown.

"The problem has continued unabated for years and years. This [protest] is so that follow up action is taken by those in authority", he said. Otis added that simultaneous actions are also being held in Jakarta, the West Java cities of Bandung and Bogor, and the East Java cities of Surabaya and Malang. Their demands are the same, the liberation of Papua from violence.

"NAPAS is demanding that the SBY-Boediono [President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and Vice President Boediono] regime take responsibility for the mysterious shootings in the land of Papua, end all forms of terror and violence against the Papuan people. Third, immediately form a national independent investigation team and provide space for an international investigation team to investigate the mysterious shootings in the land of Papua. Then, put an end to and evaluate the organic and non-organic military presence [in Papua]. Along with opening up democratic space and release all Papuan political prisoners in order resolve Papua's social-political problems", read their demands.

Action coordinator Gabi (26) said that NAPAS hopes that these demands can be acted upon, and if they are not fulfilled they will continue to hold protest actions. "If they are not fulfilled, we will continue to take to the streets to press [our demands]. The regional police should be able to discuss this with the TNI [Indonesian military] and the national police", said Gabi.

[Warga Papua 'Geruduk' Polda Jateng - Republika.co.id. Kamis, 30 Agustus 2012. Translated by James Balowski.]

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