Jonh Roy Purba, Jayapura – The Morning Star independence flag and the flag of the pro-independence West Papua National Committee (KNPB) was flown when the body of West Papua activist Filep Jacob Samuel Karma was taken to be buried on Wednesday November 2. The two flags were flown in the midst of the crowd of Karma's sympathisers.
According to Detik's observations at Karma's residence on Jalan Simpang Tiga at the Upper Dok V traffic lights in North Jayapura district, Jayapura City, Papua, the flags were flown from a pickup truck carrying Karma's body to the cemetery.
Karma's coffin, which was surrounded by several people standing on the truck, was wrapped in the Morning Star flag. KNPB and Morning Star flags were also put up side-by-side at the back of the pickup. Other sympathisers could be seen crowding around the vehicle.
When the coffin pasted by the Paulus Dok V Church in North Jayapura, a protected debate erupted between police and the people in the funeral procession.
Police tried asking them to take down the flags from the vehicle but the crowd refused until in the end they were allowed to march with the flags flying.
Police prohibit Morning Star flag
The police had earlier prohibited Karma's sympathisers from bringing the Morning Star flag to the funeral procession saying that they would not tolerate this.
"I told them yesterday, symbols or the Morning Star flag won't be allowed today", Jayapura district police chief Senior Commissioner Victor Mackbon told journalists on Wednesday.
"I explained to them, if you still bring them, we will act firmly. And I established communication, lest the entourage turn into a mess. So please respect all of us and don't just do whatever you like", said Mackbon.
Mackbon admitted that they have indeed given the impression of tolerating the Morning Star flag being brought by Karma's sympathisers. But he asserted that if this is repeated, it will be seen as provocation.
"Now, why earlier did it seem like it was being allowed, we just didn't want there to be friction between the masses who at the time were prone to be emotional and were still questioning the cause of the deceased's death. We did prohibit it yesterday. But they didn't want [to listen]. But it would have been impossible for us to act. There would have been a riot", he said.
"So, after yesterday, we will pursue direct communication with them. Now, right now it's important that we had appealed to them. If they continue to offend, we will take action", he asserted. (asm/hmw)
[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Momen Simpatisan Filep Karma Kibarkan Bendera Bintang Kejora-KNPB di Jayapura".]