Benny Mawel, Jayapura – The police dispersed a rally where state Cenderawasih University (Uncen) students protested against PT Freeport Indonesia on Wednesday, April 7, 2021, demanding the mining company to cease operations.
The rally occurred in three spots: Expo Waena terminal, Perumnas III Waena, and the yard of an auditorium in the university in Abepura, Jayapura. The police stopped all three rallies, saying that the rallies did not have any permits.
Indonesian laws do not require protesters to obtain "permits". They need only to tell the police so the police could "guard" the process. Home Affairs Minister Tito Karnavian said recently as quoted by CNN Indonesia that the police could disperse a rally if they deemed the rally to violate laws. Jayapura Police, however, insisted they dispersed it because it did not have a "permit".
"The rally did not have a permit. We had readied 300 personnel to anticipate the rallies," said Adj. Come. Langgeng Widodo, the head of operations department at Jayapura Police.
Yosp Itlay, one of the student protesters and the head of the university's Student Executive Body (BEM) told the press, protested the police's actions, calling it antidemocratic. "We did not do any vandalism, we held a dignified rally to convey our aspirations to the Papua Province administration and all the concerned parties. The Indonesian Military (TNI) and the National Police came and silence us," Itlay said.
"We demand PT Freeport Indonesia to leave Papua Land. All multinational corporations that have activities in Papua Land, all owned by imperialists: BP, LNG Tangguh, Medco, Korindo, all of you, go away from Papua Land," said Itlay.
He said Freeport had brought harm to the native Papuans and inflicted destruction on Nemangkawi Mountain.
He said Freeport had to rehabilitate the environment before leaving Papua Land. He said the students wanted the government to stop all economic, development, investment acceleration programs, called "MP3EI", and stop all the constructions of military bases in all Papua Land, or internationally known as West Papua.
The university's BEM wanted the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) to step in and audit Freeport.
"Investigate, arrest and put the perpetrators of human rights violations to court. Those who have done the violations during the existence of Freeport in Papua. Let Papuans decide the future of the mining operations in Papua Land," he said.
The rally field coordinator, Gerson Pigai, said they protested against the "arbitrary actions" of the police that forced the rallies to stop.