Security forces block Papua Annexation Day rally in Manokwari

Suara Papua – May 1, 2024
Papua People's Front protesters face off against police in Manokwari – May 1, 2024 (SP)

Jayapura – Eight civil society organisations from the Papuan People's Front (FRP) held a peaceful demonstration on Jalan Gunung Fanindi in Manokwari, West Papua province, on Wednesday to commemorate 61 years since the annexation of the Papuan nation (May 1, 1963 to May 1, 2024).

The eight movement organisations that that make up the FRP are the West Papua National Committee (KNPB), the Papua Student and Youth National Front (FNMPP), West Papua Youth and Student National Solidarity (SONAMAPA), the Papuan People's Struggle Movement (GPRP) and the West Papua Independent Student Forum (FIM-WP), along with other student and Papuan people's groups.

The demonstration was held at three points, the first being in front of the Mansinam student dormitory, the second in front of the Amban Village head's office and the third in front of the Papua Manokwari University campus entrance.

The peaceful actions to commemorate Annexation Day, which the Indonesian government calls integration day, took up the theme "Give the right of self-determination to the Papuan nation and the military emergency in the land of Papua".

Field coordinator Lotty Selak said the action commemorating the annexation of Papua into the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia (NKRI) was to include a long-march to the West Papua Regional House of Representatives (DPRD) offices.

The action began at 7.25 am when protesters moved out carrying protest materials such as pamphlets, megaphones, speakers, rafiah ropes to keep the demonstrators together and KNPB flags. Following this, they began moving to the individual gathering points.

"The protesters at the gathering point in front of the Mansinam student dormitory began to move off towards the location of the action accompanied by yells of 'We are not the red-and-white', 'Indonesia is killing-killing the people' and speeches while marching", explained Selak.

Selak said that at 8.25 am a police car, two water cannon, a patrol car and a truck carrying police personnel took up a position to block the protesters at the Manokwari Makalo Monument.

At 9.15 am, before they had a chance to negotiate with police, the protesters were confronted by a water cannon in the middle of the road. At 9.20 am protesters from the gathering point in front of the Amban Village head's office arrived and joined the demonstrators from the Mansinam student dormitory at the Makalo Monument.

At 9.43 pm the demonstrators advanced by around five metres but security personnel block them again.

"The security forces did not allow the long-march to the West Papua DPRD offices. The demonstrators were asked to express their aspirations by using transportation provided by the security forces to go to the West Papua DPRD. Negotiations stalled, so the demonstrators sat down in the middle of the road", he explained.

"At 11.04 am the security forces brought a DPRD representative. At 12.05 pm we were directed to deliver political speeches from each organisation. At the end of the political speeches a statement was read out".

In the statement they said that the claims made by the Indonesian government about the status of the land of Papua as an integral part of the Republic of Indonesia are invalid, because they did not have authentic, real and true historical evidence, and that since December 1, 1961, the West Papuan nation have had genuine sovereignty as an independent nation that is equal to other nations on earth.

The West Papuan people firmly reject the results of the 1969 Pepera (the UN sponsored referendum on West Papua's integration into Indonesia) because it was carried out on the basis of the New York Agreement that was legally and morally flawed and was conducted in an atmosphere of oppression beyond the limits of humanity.

The Papuan nation has the right to determine a future that is independent politically, legally and economically. West Papua is currently an emergency military zone, and therefore military operations must be halted immediately. May 1 is International Labour Day, so the Papuan nation supports the struggle of workers in Indonesia and the entire world.

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Aksi Hari Aneksasi di Manokwari Dihadang Aparat, Pernyataan Dibacakan di Jalan".]