Demanding referendum, thousands of Papuans protest in Jayapura

Detik News – November 14, 2011
West Papuan protesters in Jayapura demand referendum (Aceh Traffic)
West Papuan protesters in Jayapura demand referendum (Aceh Traffic)

Chazizah Gusnita, Jakarta – Thousands of Papuans from the West Papua National Committee (KNPB) demonstrated in front of the Regional House of Representatives (DPRD) building in the Papuan provincial capital of Jayapura today. The protesters demanded an end to violence in Papua.

“Those are the demands of many demonstrators. Hold a referendum, end the violence, otsus (special autonomy) has failed”, said Papua district police public relations chief Senior Commissioner Wachyono when contacted by Detik on Monday November 14.

Wachyono said that the demonstrators began the action in Abepura then marched on foot towards Jayapura. As of 4.30pm the protest action was still continuing. “Yeah they walked from Abepura to Jayapura. Earlier starting at 2pm. It’s still going on”, he said.

The protest action was watched over by around 300 police officers and up until now has proceeded without incident. The demonstrators are still giving speeches and there has been no disorderly behaviour or problems. “They made an agreement that there would be no anarchy. So we are keeping watch with 300 personnel”, Wachyono explained.

According to Wachyono, as security personnel, the police also have the same commitment as the protesters, namely ending all acts of violence because it has not just been Papuans that have suffered from the violence but police officers also.

“We the police also have such a commitment. We are following up on the earlier [Third Papuan People’s] Congress. If there are members [of the police] involved [in violence] we will process them”, he asserted. (gus/nwk)

[Tuntut Referendum, 1.000-an Warga Papua Unjuk Rasa – detikNews. Senin, 14/11/2011. Translated by James Balowski.]