Papuan students in Yogyakarta reject special autonomy, call for dialogue

Source – July 4, 2007
West Papuan students rally for independence in Yogyakarta (hariansib)

Bagus Kurniawan, Yogyakarta – Accompanied by the beat of drums, West Papuan students danced and sang following a protest in the Central Java city of Yogyakarta on Wednesday July 4 in which they rejected special autonomy saying it had failed.

Before disbanding, students were seen arguing with security personnel who were asking them to reopen a road they had blockaded. “Please open the road, at least one half”, pleaded Police Commissioner Junaedi.

The protesters however strongly objected and two of the students even became angered by the request. “We have the right to use this road. Leave us to demonstrate here”, one of the students said angrily while pointing his finger in the direction of security personnel.

“I also have rights. This is a public road. So give others a chance to pass. You can’t just do whatever you like”, answered Junaedi. The students however continued giving speeches.

Towards the end of the action they read out a statement rejecting six years of special autonomy saying it had failed, rejecting the splitting of Papua into two provinces and calling on the government to open a national dialogue.

Satisfied after giving speeches and reading out the statement, one by one the students returned to their dormitory after which the front gate was closed. Inside, the students who were wearing headbands with the symbol of the Morning Star, danced and sang accompanied by the sound of small drums. A banner that had been put up with the Morning Star symbol was also left in place.

Security personnel meanwhile carried the tables and chairs that the students had earlier used to blockade the road back onto the sidewalk in front of the dormitory. After which the flow of traffic returned to normal. After some fifteen minutes the hundreds of police that had been guarding the action turned to the right. Dis... miss! (aan/sss)

[Translated by James Balowski.]