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Police disperse peaceful protest advocating indigenous rights in South Papua

Tabloid Jubi - November 21, 2023

Jayapura, Jubi – In Merauke Regency of South Papua Province, the local police disbanded a peaceful rally on Saturday (18/12/2023), detaining 20 demonstrators who were advocating for the Awyu indigenous people who embroiled in a legal dispute at the Jayapura State Administrative Court.

The protest, organized by the South Papua Student, Youth, and Advocates for the Traditional Lands Alliance (Ampera PS), aimed to highlight the Awyu indigenous people's plight,

The dispersal of the rally and subsequent arrests faced opposition from the Legal Aid Institute of Papua (LBH Papua). According to LBH Papua Director Emanuel Gobay, Ampera PS had notified the Merauke Police about the demonstration in advance, suggesting that the police should not have intervened.

"LBH Papua views the police's actions as a breach of Law Number 9 of 1998 regarding freedom of expression," said Gobay, highlighting the discrepancy between the police's duties as law enforcers and their handling of the situation.

Gobay, in a press release on Saturday (18/11/2023), condemned the arrests as an abuse of authority, citing Government Regulation Number 2 of 2003 on Disciplinary Regulations for Members of the Indonesian National Police. He further accused the Merauke Police Chief and staff of stifling democratic space, violating National Police Chief Regulation No. 8 of 2009 that outlines human rights principles in police duties.

LBH Papua urged the Papua Police Chief and the Governor of South Papua to instruct the Merauke Police Chief to release the detained Ampera PS protesters. Gobay emphasized the legitimacy of the rally under democratic mechanisms guaranteed by the Freedom of Expression Law, urging swift action for their release. (*)

Source: https://en.jubi.id/police-disperse-peaceful-protest-advocating-indigenous-rights-in-south-papua