Lodi Aprianto – A protest action by Papuan students in the South Sulawesi provincial capital of Makassar ended in chaos after members of an ormas (social or mass organisations) forcibly broke up the demonstration. Rappocini deputy sectoral police chief Deputy Police Commissioner Widodo was injured by a rock during the incident.
Initially, the demonstration which took place in the neighbourhood of Jalan Ap Pettarani in Makassar on the afternoon of Tuesday October 26 proceeded in an orderly manner. The arrival of the ormas however caused the situation to heat up with each side attacking each other by throwing rocks on the main road.
Rappocini sectoral police chief Police Commander Syamsir Syamsuddin said that the brawl did not last long and after the police moved in and separated the two groups they immediately disbanded.
"There was a social group (ormas) which arrived. We went there to separate them. Praise be Allah it has been secured", said Syamsuddin on Tuesday.
The incident began when the Makassar City Papua Student Forum held a demonstration in front of the Makassar Regional House of Representatives (DPRD). All of a sudden members of the Indonesian Muslim Brigade (BMI) arrived and began forcibly breaking up the Papuan student demonstration.
The Papuan students resisted and a scuffle was unavoidable, with both sides pushing and shoving each other, which then escalated into stone throwing. It was during this chaos that Deputy Police Commissioner Widodo was hit in the face by a rock and had to be rushed to hospital.
"My face was bleeding after being hit by a stone, it was thrown", he explained.
Speaking separately, South Sulawesi BMI Chairperson Muh Zulkifli claimed that their spirit of nationalism was disturbed by the protest action by the Papuan students. According to Zulkifli, they appeared to be supporting Papuan independence and West Papua National Committee (KNPB) international spokesperson and jailed Papuan activist Victor Yeimo.
"They disturbed our spirit of nationalism", he said.
[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Demo Mahasiswa Papua di Makassar Dibubarkan Ormas, Polisi Jadi Sasaran".]