Papuan students oppose special autonomy, call for referendum

Tempo Interactive – April 22, 2008
West Papuan student protest in Denpasar (phaul-heger)
West Papuan student protest in Denpasar (phaul-heger)

Rofiqi Hasan, Denpasar – Scores of West Papuan students from the United West Papua Popular Struggle Front (Pepera) demonstrated today on the Udayana University campus in the Balinese provincial capital of Denpasar. They were protesting against special autonomy for West Papua and calling for a referendum to be held.

During the action, they wore traditional Papuan clothing, carried miniature bows and arrows, sang Papuan songs and danced. A number of posters adorned with photographs of human rights violations were also on display. The posters carried messages such as “Close Freeport, Now”, “Papua for Papuans” and “Release Selbius Boti and friends”.

In his speech, action coordinator Wens Papua said that the Papuan people have become the victims of capitalist exploitation. “We are asking for this to stop. Special autonomy is making us suffer more and more. Oppose special autonomy, hold a referendum”, he said.

[Translated by James Balowski.]