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Hunt renewed for non-indigenous Papuans infiltrating Jakarta protests

Detik.com - March 1, 2006

Iqbal Fadil, Jakarta – After arresting six activists during a demonstration at Plaza 89 in South Jakarta yesterday, police have renewed the hunt for activist they believe infiltrated the group of indigenous Papuans protesting against PT Freeport Indonesia.

Police suspect that they intentionally taking advantage of the People's United Struggle Front for West Papua (Perpera PB) that for the third day in a row have rocked Plaza 89 where Freeport has its offices.

“Watch out! Tighten up your ranks. Don’t let your sisters and brothers be used by other groups to take advantage of this momentum”, shouted a police officer though a loudspeaker from a police car parked on the grounds of the Plaza 89 Building on Jl. HR Rasuna Said in South Jakarta on Wednesday March 1.

After issuing the warning a police officer then tried to arrest an activist who was standing near the line of indigenous Papuan demonstrators. This resulted in a tug-of-war between police and demonstrators who tried to protect the activist. In the end the protesters were able to bring the activist beak into their ranks.

From Detik’s observations, security personnel have indeed reinforced security at this demonstration. They have setup ropes so that the demonstrators that arrived at 12noon remain in the cordoned off area. Journalists that over the last two days have been able to mingle with protesters have been asked to stay away from them. Journalists are only allowed to stand on the sidewalk and the medium strip between the slow and fast lanes.

The tightening of security is believed to be because police are concerned about “infiltrators” joining the demonstrations. In addition to the warning, police also asked protesters to be well behaved in conveying their wishes.

As a result of the demonstration, traffic traveling in the fast lane from Mampang in South Jakarta in the direction of Menteng in Central Java was slowed to a crawl.

On Tuesday afternoon six activists were arrested and on Wednesday they were named as suspects in provoking protesters and intimidating security personnel (see Six arrested at Freeport demonstration in Jakarta). The six are Awing and Ridlo from the Indonesian Legal Aid Association (PBHI), Ari Aryanto from Solidarity Aceh-Papua (SAP), Islah and Rawin from the Indonesian Environmental Forum (Walhi Jakarta) and Ruis from the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras). (umi)

[Translated by James Balowski.]

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