Jakarta – Papua Legal Aid Foundation (LBH) Director Emanuel Gobay says that a participant of a demonstration in Jayapura opposing the creation of new autonomous regions (DOB) in Papua is in a critical condition after being shot by a rubber bullet allegedly fired by a police officer.
Earlier on Tuesday May 10, police forcibly broke up a demonstration opposing new autonomous regions in Papua. "Yes (the critical injury) was at an action in Waena", said Gobay when contacted.
Although Gobay admitted he does not know the exact chronology of events leading up to the shooting, he confirmed that the victim was taking part in an action in front of Mega Waena department store in Jayapura.
"So right when they arrived in front of Mega Waena [the protest] was forcibly broken up, it was at this time that police used rubber bullets and the like. When a rubber bullet was fired it hit one of the protesters", he said.
According to Gobay, the victim was immediately taken to a Mimika boarding house for treatment by students. Despite this, he does not have any further information on the victim's condition.
He added that aside from the person shot by a rubber bullet, another participant suffered injuries after being assaulted by police. The victim, he said, was kicked in the chest by a police officer.
"Aside from this a person was also hit, who ended up unconscious, then they were picked up and then taken to the boarding house. Earlier I managed to meet with them, they complained that their chest still hurt because of being kicked. There were several others who were injured", explained Gobay.
Demonstrations against the creation of new autonomous regions and Special Autonomy (Otsus) in several parts of Jayapura were forcibly broken up by police yesterday.
One incident, in which police forcibly broke up a peaceful action using a water cannon, was recorded on video and shared on Twitter by Papuan People's Petition (PRP) spokesperson Jeffry Wenda.
At least seven people were arrested by police during the action including Wenda, West Papua National Committee (KNPB) spokesperson Ones Suhuniap and Omizon Balingga.
Police have yet to provide detailed information on the person shot by the rubber bullet.
So far they have only announced that they sized a number of pieces of evidence in the form of sharp weapons and materials with the Morning Star independence flag motive on them, which were confiscated during a sweep of demonstrators in the Sentani area of Jayapura regency.
Jayapura regional police chief Assistant Superintendent Fredrickus W.A Maclairimboen said the search was conducted in order to anticipate the mobilisation of protesters wanting to hold a demonstration.
"There were three points were we placed personnel to sweep the flow of protesters wanting to take part in demonstrations, in addition to this there were two other points where raids were conducted including in front of the Hawai Sentani Puspenka and the East Sentani sectoral police headquarters", Maclairimboen told reporters. (dmi/wis)
[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Satu Peserta Demo Tolak DOB Papua Tertembak Peluru Karet".]