Anti-Freeport demonstration ends up at US Embassy

Source – January 23, 2006
Papuan students protest at Hotel Indonesia traffic circle (Liputan 6)
Papuan students protest at Hotel Indonesia traffic circle (Liputan 6)

Nova Maulani, Jakarta – A solidarity action over the Freeport tragedy has ended up at the US Embassy. For one-and-a-half hours around 150 demonstrators gave speeches and held theatrical actions.

Prior to this they held an action at the Hotel Indonesia roundabout and the State Palace.

The four busses that brought the group of demonstrators arrived at the US Embassy on Jalan Medan Merdeka Selatan in Jakarta at 12.30pm on Monday January 23.

Four platoons of police from the Central Jakarta district police and the Gambir sectoral police “greeted” them as soon as they arrived. They then held speeches and theatrical actions that depicted the interrogation of a person wearing military clothing while traditional people danced around a campfire.

They also set fire to two US flags, a Freeport flag and military paraphernalia that was used during the theatrical action.

The field coordinator of the action, Arkilaus Boho, said that the US Embassy was indeed one of the targets of the demonstration. This is because Freeport is a US company. “And we are also demanding that Freeport be closed right now”, he said.

Commission XI House of Representatives member Inya Bae — who originates from West Papua and also joined the demonstration — said that the recent arrest of the 12 civilians in Timika missed the target. There is something that doesn’t fit, bearing in mind that four of the 12 are aged between 12 and 14 years.

The other thing that doesn’t fit he said is the question of the magazine. Usually, he added, a magazine contains 30 rounds but 130 spent rounds were found in the vehicles. “It makes no sense that the Free Papua Movement is behind the action”, he said. The demonstrators disbanded at around 2pm. (umi)

[Translated by James Balowski.]