Again, Papuans protest demanding independence

Tempo Interactive – November 14, 2011
West Papuan protesters in Jayapura demand referendum (Tabloid Wani)
West Papuan protesters in Jayapura demand referendum (Tabloid Wani)

Jerry Omona, Papua – Thousands of Papuans demonstrated in the Papuan provincial capital of Jayapura today demanding that a referendum or an act of self-determination be held immediately.

The protesters held a long-march from Abepura city towards Imbi Park in Jayapura, a distance of around 10-13 kilometers.

“Struggle never dies, there is only one word, keep fighting”, said West Papuan National Committee (KNPB) deputy chairperson Mako Tabuni on Monday November 14.

The demonstrators brought scores of posters and banners calling for a referendum, United Nations flags and pamphlets with pictures of the Moring Star. Throughout the protest action, shouts of “Papua” were greeted with the word “Independence” by thousands of others.

“We call on everyone to join in, we are asking for a referendum, not dialogue”, said KNPB coordinator for the Jayapura area, Victor Kogoya.

Scores of fully armed police officers could be seen watching over the action. “There are scores [of police officers], we hope there will be no anarchy”, said Abepura sectoral police chief Police Commissioner Arie Sirait.

In mid-October, hundreds of residents also demonstrated in front of the Papuan People’s Council (MRP) in Kotaraja, Jayapura, demanding independence. The demonstration was a protest against the government and to demand that a full-scale referendum be held on June 2010 (sic).

As a result of the protest action, traffic from Jayapura to Sentani was totally gridlocked and scores of shops and stalls closed. The demonstrators are still marching towards Jayapura where they plan to occupy the Papuan Regional House of Representatives (DPRP).

[Lagi, Warga Papua Demo Tuntut Merdeka – TEMPO Interaktif. Senin, 14 November 2011. Translated by James Balowski.]