Karina M. Tehusijarana, Jakarta – Immigration officials are deporting four Australian citizens on Monday for allegedly participating in pro-independence protests in Sorong, West Papua.
Immigration Directorate General spokesperson Ujo Sujoto alleged in a statement on Monday that the four Australians took part in a rally in front of the Sorong mayor's office on Aug. 27.
The four Australians were identified as Tom Baxter, 37, Cheryl Melinda Davidson, 36, Danielle Joy Hellyer, 31, and Ruth Irene Cobbold, 25.
"The four Australian citizens will be deported on Monday, Sept. 2, 2019 through the Domine Eduard Osok Airport in Sorong and flown in a Batik Air flight to Bali via Makassar," Ujo said.
Three of the Australians would then be flown to Australia on a Qantas flight on Monday night, except for Davidson, who is to be flown out on a Virgin Australian Airline flight on Sept. 4.
The Australian Embassy did not immediately reply to The Jakarta Post's requests for comment.
The deportations are taking amid strengthening calls for a Papuan referendum on self-determination and accusations from authorities that "foreign parties" have been involved in the ongoing unrest in Papua and West Papua.
Over the weekend, Jakarta Police arrested seven Papuan students and Indonesian People's Front for West Papua spokesperson Surya Anta, accusing them of treason for taking part in a demonstration in front of the State Palace during which they and hundreds of other Papuan students demanded a referendum while carrying banned Morning Star flags, a symbol of the Papuan independence movement.