Jakarta – The Papua regional police managed to arrest 13 people protesting against Special Autonomy in the vicinity of the Cenderawasih University (Uncen), Papua, and in several other areas on October 27. The demonstrators however were released after being questioned at the Abepura sectoral police headquarters.
"They were secured to prevent more protesters coming and mobilising the masses", said Papua regional police public relations division head Senior Commissioner Ahmad Musthofa Kamal in an official release on Tuesday October 27.
Kamal explained that the protest actions had been held since 8 am at three different points, namely in front of the Waena Expo, the lower Cenderawasih University gate and the Jayapura City state housing company III. According to Kamal, the protesters at the state housing company failed to heed the police's request to disperse.
Kamal claimed that during the action there were indications of many provocative activities by a handful of people which aggravated the situation.
Police claimed that they found three machetes, an axe and two sets of bows and arrows in the vicinity of the Cendrawasih University. "The protesters held an anarchic action throwing rocks at police, setting fire to tyres on public streets and an intersection", he said.
Aside from arresting 13 people, police also immobilised a demonstrator named Yakobus Guam (25). Kamal said that police officers were forced to do this because Guam, who was arrested after throwing rocks at police, attempted to resist arrest.
Kamal said that Guam had been taken to the Bhayangkara hospital for treatment. "When he was being arrested he resisted arrest so police immobilised him barehanded which resulted in the perpetrator suffering burses on his face", said Kamal.
Kamal also denied that police fired shots at the protesters saying that the officers dealing with the protest were not armed. "Personnel in the field also used water cannon and teargas", said Kamal.
Earlier, the Papua Legal Aid Foundation (LBH) said that police not only arrested 13 people but also shot one of the demonstrators. "Meanwhile, there was one person among the demonstrators who injured by a gunshot named Matias Soo", said LBH Papua Director Emanuel Gobay.
Gobay said that the 13 people arrested were Apniel Doo, Jhon F Tebai, Doni Pekei, Yabet Likas Degei, Meriko Kabak, Orgis Kabak, Carles Siep, Ones Sama, Yanias Mirin, Arkilaus Lokon, Kristianbus Degei, Laban Helukan and Asulius Magai.
Gobay said that the Indonesian military's (TNI) involvement in securing the protest action needs special attention because the deployment of TNI officers requires a special letter of assignment based on a request for assistance.
According to Gobay, the police did not have such a letter so the TNI's presence at the protest action against Special Autonomy was illegal. "Based on this we have conveyed that the security forces in this case the TNI and the Indonesian police violated Standard Operating Procedures", said Gobay. (mjo/bmw)
[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Polisi Akui Sempat Amankan 13 Pedemo Menolak Otsus Papua".]