Alie Usman, Jakarta – Scores of demonstrators from the group Solidarity for Papua (SUP) that had gathered at the Hotel Indonesia traffic circle in Central Jakarta on Monday June 28, ended up stopping at several points along the length of Jl. Medan Merdeka Barat on their way to the State Palace.
The protesters, most of which were wearing traditional Papuan dress and tassels, soon caused the flow of traffic on Jl. Medan Merdeka Barat to come to a halt creating total grid-lock for several minutes.
One of the worst things was when the crowd took up almost the entire width of road in front of the Communication and Information Ministry office. At this point they held speeches and closed off the road for several minutes. Other road users were forced to use the busway lane to get by. Although the action paralyzed traffic, there was no response whatsoever by police or security personnel on guard in front of the building.
Before moving off to the State Palace, the pro-Papua demonstrators gathered at the Hotel Indonesia traffic circle to hold a protest action. After giving speeches for several minutes, they continued the action with a long-march to the State Palace on Jl. Medan Merdeka in Central Jakarta.
The protest was in response to their disappointment over the failure to end the military operational zone (DOM) status and scorched earth policy in the Tingginambut district of Puncak Jaya, which they say has resulted in numerous human rights violations.
The protesters, most of which came from inland tribes in Papua and brought regional symbols with them, called on the government to immediately lift the DOM status in Papua. They also called on the National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM) to immediately step in and investigate a variety of cases of military violence in Tingginambut.
SUP (Solidarutas Untuk Papua) was established in mid June and includes activists from the Papuan Student Association (IPMA-PAPUA), the West Papua Student Alliance (AMWP), the Anti Colonial Movement (GANJA), the National Student Front (FMN), the Legal Aid Foundation (LBH), the Indonesian Association of Catholic Students (PMKRI), Student Struggle Center for National Liberation-Political Union of the Poor (Pembebasan-PPRM), the Political Committee of the Poor-Peoples Democratic Party (KPRM-PRD), the Youth Organisations Union of Struggle (KPOP), the Indonesian Student Union (SMI), Perempuan Mahardhika (Free Women), the West Papua Women’s Liberation Movement of Struggle (GP3-PB) and the Indonesian Struggle Union (PPI).
[Translated by James Balowski.]