Rumondang Naibaho, Jakarta – The Papua Student Alliance (AMP) has shrugged off accusations that protesters threw rocks at police during a demonstration near the Horse Statue in Central Jakarta yesterday. The AMP believes that the accusations are designed to paint the demonstration in a bad light.
Papuan Central Highlands Indonesian Student Association (AMPTPI) Secretary General Ambrosius Mulait gave a chronology of the demonstration on Thursday December 1. Mulait explained that the protest action was to commemorate 61 years since the declaration of West Papuan independence, but that it was blocked by police.
"The West Papua independence declaration was made in front of the American Embassy followed by a long-march to the Presidential Palace, but we were blocked the police and the peaceful demonstration redirected to the Arjuna Wijaya [Horse] Statue at Monas [National Monument] in Central Jakarta", Mulait explained to journalists on Friday December 2.
According to Mulait, at around 9.30 am the police provoked one of the Papuan students who was wearing a T-shirt with a picture of the Morning Star independence flag. He claimed that the police tried to force them to take off the shirt, but the student refused.
"Twenty-five minutes later the police again ordered the protesters to take down one of the West Papua National Committee (KNPB) flags. The students did not heed his because the KNPB and AMP flags are not banned flags", he said.
Mulait said that initially the demonstration proceeded smoothly and peacefully. He claimed that the police then arrived with a lawyer and told them that one of the police officers had been hit by a rock thrown by the protesters.
"Meanwhile the Horse Statue area is an area where there are hardly any stones at all. How could the protesters have got out of the circle and gathered stones, while the demonstrators were surrounded by a combination of TNI [Indonesian military] and Polri [Indonesian police] officers as well as intelligence [agents] who were on the ground since [the action at the] USA Embassy through to the Horse Statue", he explained.
Mulait is asking the police to provide evidence that the students threw rocks at them. "The police must also show evidence of a victim and also the perpetrator of the stone throwing so that it's clear cut", he said.
As reported earlier, the AMP held a demonstration at the Horse Statue on Thursday. The protest action was marred by a clash with police.
Central Jakarta Metro Jaya district police operations division chief Assistance Superintendent Saufi Salamun was reportedly injured by a stone that was thrown while he was guarding the demonstration.
"Correct (the Central Jakarta Metro Jaya district police operations division chief was injured)", said Central Jakarta Metro Jaya district police chief Senior Commissioner Komarudin when contacted Thursday.
Komarudin said that Saufi Salamun was injured by stone that was thrown when police wanted to remove a flag that had been brought by the demonstrators. "It's suspected that the rock was thrown when we wanted to remove a flag they brought", he said.
He said that Salamun suffered a head injury and received first-aid treatment at a security coordination post. (mea/dhn)
[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was " Aliansi Mahasiswa Papua Bantah Polisi soal Lemparan Batu di Demo".]