Abeth Ayou, Jayapura – Papuan Students Alliance (AMP) and Indonesian People's Front (FRI) for West Papua held a rally in front of the West Java gubernatorial office in Bandung on July 1 to commemorate the declaration of Independence of Papua Land, or internationally known as West Papua, on July 1, 1971.
The rally began from Papuan student dorm Kamasan II and they walked to the gubernatorial office while wearing masks.
The rally spokesperson, Pakos Kossay, said that the native Papuans would continue their struggle for independence. "The state of West Papua will be fought for and we will achieve independence on our land and dignity as Papuans," said Kossay to Jubi on July 3.
Kossay said people had to understand the history surrounding West Papua's inclusion to Indonesia in 1969, which to many Papuans was forced through fraudulent practice. To them, the year 1969 was the beginning of West Papua colonization under Indonesia.
"Indonesia began to secure the area and smother West Papua independence movement organized by Free Papua Organization (OPM) through diplomacy and guerilla," he said.
Kossay said July 1, 1971 was a historical day for Papuans because that day some fighters proclaimed West Papua's independence in Waris village in what is now called Jayapura Regency.
The proclamation was conveyed by Seth Jafet Rumkorem as the President of West Papua, accompanied by Jakob Prai as the speaker of the Senate (the people's representatives), Health Minister Dorinus Maury, National Liberation Army (Tepenal) chief of staff Philemon Tablamilena Jarisetou Jufuway, and Tepenal commander Louis Wajoi.
The rally coordinator in Bandung, Sey Bomanak, said July 1 was a legal and factual moment to mark West Papua's independence.
Bomanak said the proclamation invited all Papuans, from Numbai to Merauke, from Sorong to Balim (Bintang Mountains), and from Biak Island to Adi Island, to declare independence.
Bomanak said the spirit of July 1, 1971 was still alive, and the West Papua National Liberation Army (TPNPB) continued to return Papuan nation's political rights. He said the spirit of July 1, 1971 was the continuation of another declaration of independence on Dec. 1, 1961.
On Dec. 1, 1961, Papuan fighters raised the Morning Star flag and sang "Hai Tanahku Papua" as the national anthem.
On June 30, Indonesian nationalist faction, the Red and White group, issued a press release rejecting July 1 as the commemoration of West Papua declaration of independence. They wanted to instead celebrate July 1 in West Papua as the National Police's anniversary, called Bhayangkara Day.