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Protests in Indonesian cities mark New York Agreement on Papua

Radio New Zealand International - August 15, 2017

Protests have been held in several cities in Indonesia to mark the anniversary of the agreement which sealed West Papua's incorporation into the republic.

Today is the 55th anniversary of the New York Agreement, the US-brokered deal under which the Netherlands agreed to transfer control of West Papua to Indonesia, pending a UN-administered plebiscite.

The agreement, which Papuans were not party to, paved the way for 1969's Act of Free Choice which gave Indonesia control of the former Dutch New Guinea. Many Papuans say the process was undemocratic and a betrayal.

Today, small protests were held in Indonesian cities of Yogyakarta, Semarang, Ternate, Bandung, Malang and Jakarta to mark the date.

The protests, which were organised by the Papuan Students Alliance and the Indonesian People's Front for West Papua, were monitored closely by police personnel.

Reports from Indonesia indicate over 40 people were arrested in the Semarang rally, and around 30 people in both Jakarta and Yogyakarta events.

Additionally, some of the protestors claim they were physically assaulted by members of civillian militia who along with police outnumbered the protestors in some cases.

At the Malang protest, one man claimed to have sustained a head injury after being punched by a a civillian militia member after he shouted "merdeka", a common cry for Papuan freedom.

Source: http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/337254/protests-in-indonesian-cities-mark-new-york-agreement-on-papua