Reiner Brabar, Jayapura – Following an earlier call by the Papua People's Petition (PRP) and despite being marred by police blockades, forced dispersals and assaults on protesters, simultaneous mass actions were held in various parts of the country on Thursday July 14,.
The actions were held to conveyed the people's opposition to revisions to the Special Autonomy Law on Papua (Otsus), the creation of new autonomous regions (DOB) and demands for a referendum on independence.
Based on reports compiled by Suara Papua, a PRP action in Jayapura was held under tight security by police who subsequently broke up the action resulting in several people being hit and punched by police.
Four students, namely Welinus Walianggen, Ebenius Tabuni, Nias Aso and Habel Fauk were assaulted by police near the PT Gapura Angkasa warehouse at the Cenderawasih University (Uncen) in Waena, Jayapura when police forcibly broke up the student protest.
According to Walianggen, one of the action coordinators, scores of police officers used batons and rattan sticks to disperse them.
Meanwhile PRP protesters arriving from several different points conveyed their demands at the Papua Regional House of Representatives (DPRP) office. Although they were blocked by police, negotiations were held at the main entrance to the parliament building.
Several DPRP members then met with the demonstrators who handed over a document containing their opposition to the creation of the three new provinces (South Papua, Central Papua and the Papua Highlands), which was ratified by the House of Representatives (DPR) during a plenary meeting in Senayan, Jakarta, on Thursday June 31, and for revisions to the Special Autonomy law to be revoked.
In Timika, a PRP action was held in front of the Mimika Indonesian Builders Association (Gapensi) offices but it was broken up by police just after 9 am local time.
Despite not having permission from police, several speakers were able to convey the Papuan people's opposition to Otsus, the DOBs and demands for a referendum to be held. The speakers also called for the closure of the PT Freeport gold and copper mine and the cancelation of planned mining activities in the Wabu Block.
In Nabire, PRP protesters held their ground against the police but many of the people who had gathered at Karang Tumaritis, SP 1 and Siriwini at 7 am were arrested and taken away by the Nabire district police.
A short time later, demonstrators from several different points headed towards the Nabire Regional House of Representatives (DPRD) office where they packed into the parliament grounds.
While they were giving speeches, the demonstrators who had been arrested rejoined the action after being dropped off by several Nabire district police vehicles.
Speakers representing various different organisations and elements of Papuan society in the Meepago region took turns in articulating the people's thoughts.
PRP liaison officer for the Meepago region Agus Tebai said that the Papuan people, including those from Meepago, explicitly reject Otsus and the DOBs in the land of Papua. Speakers also asserted that Otsus and the recently enacted laws on the creation of three new provinces in Papua must be annulled.
Tebai asserted that the Papuan people are calling for an immediate referendum to determine the future of West Papua. These demands were finally handed over to the people's representatives and accepted by three members of the Nabire DPRD.
In Manokwari, PRP protesters gathered on the Amban main road and gave speeches until 1.30 pm.
The hundreds of detonators were blocked by police and prevented from holding a long-march to the West Papua DPRD offices. Negotiations between police and the action coordinator achieved nothing and the demonstrators then disbanded in an orderly fashion.
Similar mass actions were also held in Yahukimo, Boven Digoel, Sorong and Kaimana in West Papua province.
In Wamena meanwhile, the Lapago regional PRP was conveyed its support for protesters who took to the streets via video. According to PRP Lapago Secretary Namene Elopere there was no action in Wamena for the Lapago region in accordance with the initial schedule because they were still coordinating with the Jayawijaya district police.
Aside from protest in Papua, simultaneous actions were also held in Bali, Ambon (Maluku), Surabaya (East Java), Yogyakarta (Central Java), Bandung (West Java) and Jakarta.
[Translated by James Balowski. Subheadings added by the translator. The original title of the article was "Begini Situasi Aksi PRP Hari Ini di Berbagai Daerah".]