Jakarta rally rejects terrorist label, calls for troop out of Papua

CNN Indonesia – May 21, 2021
Police officers waiting for Papua rally at Horse Statue in Central Jakarta – May 21, 2021 (CNN)

Jakarta – A brief protest action was held by Papuan activists from the Papua People's Petition (PRP) at the Horse Statue on Jalan Medan Barat Jakarta in Central Jakarta at 8 am.

A police officer on guard at the location said that the action was only joined by around 10 people. "It’s already over. There were around 10 people who took part earlier", said the officer near the Horse Statue on Friday May 21.

Based on observations at around 9 am, there were no demonstrators near the Horse Statue and the initial location of the action had been changed to the State Palace around one kilometre away from the Horse Statue.

Meanwhile a tactical vehicle was on alert and razor wire erected at the location, although according to police, the vehicle was made read to safeguard a defend Palestine rally which is planned to be held at the same location at around 1 pm.

CNN Indonesia tried to contact one of the coordinators of the action in Jakarta but has yet to receive a response.

Papua solidarity actions were held simultaneously on Friday in three cities: Jakarta, Bandung (West Java) and Yogyakarta (Central Java). The actions highlighted a number of issues that have emerged in Papua recently including the government's designation of the Free Papua Organisation (OPM) as terrorists.

Lakar Sime (not their real name), one of the coordinators of the actions, said that putting the terrorist label on the OPM or armed criminal groups as the government refers to them will only legitimise the security forces committing violence, including against civilians.

"Because in every incident we have seen on the ground it's usually civilians who, Papuans who suffer violence, who are often labeled KKB [armed criminal groups] rebels, OPM and so forth", Sime told CNN Indonesia on Friday.

Aside from highlighting Papua issues, the actions also raised the issue of Palestine. The protesters called for an immediately halt to attacks on Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. This was contained in an action leaflet at a demonstration held in front of the regional police headquarters in Yogyakarta on Friday

"Withdraw the military from the land of West Papua, release West Papuan political prisoners, give the right of self-determination as a democratic solution for the West Papuan nation and end the war in Palestine", read a digital leaflet which has already been confirmed. (thr/wis)

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Demo Warga Papua Digelar Singkat di Patung Kuda Jakpus".]

Source: https://www.cnnindonesia.com/nasional/20210521114853-20-645200/demo-warga-papua-digelar-singkat-di-patung-kuda-jakpus