Wearing penis gourds, Papuans demand release of Timika detainees

Detik.com – January 23, 2006
Students protest against Freeport at HI traffic circle in Jakarta (Kompas)
Students protest against Freeport at HI traffic circle in Jakarta (Kompas)

Nova Maulani, Jakarta – Flavours of West Papua dominated a demonstration in Jakarta by people from Indonesia’s eastern-most province. They were demanding that police release the eight people that have been cited as carrying out the shooting of US citizens in Timika in 2002.

At lest 100 Papuans held a demonstration at the Hotel Indonesia roundabout on Monday January 23 that was followed by a similar action in front of the State Palace and US Embassy.

Demonstrators wore various kinds of traditional Papuan costumes and clothing such as penis gourds and spears. There were also some that wore tassels and uniquely Papuan decoration on their faces.

They also brought a number of banners with messages such as “In West Papua Still Continue Genocide” [original in English – JB], “Release the eight civilian prisoners unconditionally”, “PT Freeport Indonesia end mining exploration on Papuan land now” and “A referendum for Papua”.

Another huge banner meanwhile contained four demands: the unconditional release of Reverend Izak Onawame; that Freeport, that the TNI (Indonesian military) and police end the financing of genocide in Papua; an end to the deployment of ex-Aceh TNI and police to Papua; and the immediate closure of PT Freeport.

The action at the Hotel Indonesia roundabout continued for around 15 minutes and was then followed by a rally to the State Palace. Because they used the Busway lane, traffic was blocked for the entire length of Jalan MH Tahmrin.

In front of the State Palace they held speeches and theatrical actions that depicted TNI and police violence and questioned the arrest of Onawame and the seven other civilians.

Action spokesperson Arkilaus Boho said the Mile 62-63 case [the Timika shooting in 2002] was engineered purely in interests of the TNI and police. They intentionally created a situation that to ensure that PT Freeport funds would flow into their hands. (san)

[Translated by James Balowski.]