Aldi Bimantara, Jayapura – A protest action in which Morning Star independence flags were flown by a group of students on the Jayapura Science and Technology University (USTJ) campus in Abepura has ended with seven students being arrested by police.
Speaking by telephone with Tribune Papua on Thursday November 10, action coordinator Kaitanus Ikinia confirmed the rally and subsequent arrests.
"The demonstration earlier on the USTJ campus involved seven students and the agenda was still the same, rejecting the dialoged between Jakarta and Papua initiated by the Komnas HAM [National Human Rights Commission]", he said.
In his explanation, Ikinia said that the seven students who held the action and were then arrested were Ernesto Matuan, Devio B Tekege, Ambrosius Elopere, Eko Ukago, Nobertus Dogopia, Matius Mabel and Andy You.
In addition to this, Ikinia said that the action was part of the commemoration of 22 years since the death of Papua independence figure Theys Hiyo Eluay.
"The protesters were giving speeches on campus conveying their aspirations and the police entered the USTJ campus grounds where the demonstration was and without any coordination, straight away forcibly broke it up", he explained.
Ikinia admitted that it was indeed true that there were students who brought two Morning Star flags to the demonstration.
"The students who took part in the demonstration at the USTJ campus were more than seven people, but as soon as the police arrived the others ran out because they were chased, until there was a sound of teargas being fired", he explained.
Ikinia added that as a result of the arrests it has increased tension on the USTJ campus.
Meanwhile during the peaceful demonstration the students made five demands which had to be implemented and followed up on.
First, they asked for an acknowledgment from all parties to commemorate November 10 as a national Papuan hero's day.
Second, they oppose the state forcing the Papuan people to accept new autonomous regions (DOB) and the creation of three new provinces in Papua which were claimed unilaterally and only supported by certain rogue Papuan figures.
Third, they explicitly reject efforts by the state through Komnas HAM to conduct a dialogue because it is truly impossible for perpetrators to try perpetrators.
Specifically in the third point, they said that it is impossible for the dialogue to be fair because Papua is not a national but an international issue, so a resolution must be implemented through international mechanisms.
Fourth, they explicitly reject the involvement of rogue Papuan figures in the Indonesian initiated dialogue through Komnas HAM.
Fifth, they called on the state and the United Nations to officially acknowledge the right of self-determination for West Papua.
As of this article being published, Ikinia said that the arrested students were still being questioned at the Abepura sectoral police offices. (*)
West Papuan pro-independence leader Theys Hiyo Eluay was found dead in his car in November 2001 after attending a party thrown by the Indonesian Army's Special Forces (Kopassus). Seven Kopassus soldiers were subsequently tried and found guilty of his murder and sentenced to short prison terms.
Recent efforts by the government's National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM) to hold a dialogue with the Free Papua Movement (OPM) have been criticised for allegedly involving Papuan rebel groups cultivated by the TNI (Indonesian military). The effort has also been seen by many as a cynical attempt to counter mounting international criticism over ongoing rights abuses in Papua.
[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Polisi Amankan Mahasiswa Kibarkan Bendera Bintang Kejora saat Demo di Kampus USTJ Jayapura".]