Soldier assaulted as thousands of Papuans take to the streets on May Day

Detik News – May 1, 2012
Soldiers attack pro-independence demonstrators in Timika (Antara)
Soldiers attack pro-independence demonstrators in Timika (Antara)

Chazizah Gusnita, Jakarta – May 1 is not just for celebrating International Labour Day. In Papua, people commemorated May as the day Papua was annexed into the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia (NKRI). More than 1300 people took to the streets.

“In Sentani (the number of protesters was) 300 people, and in Jayapura around 1000”, said Papua regional police public relations chief Senior Commissioner Johannes Nugroho when contacted by on Tuesday May 1.

According to Nugroho, the protesters in Sentani held a protest action at the grave of Papuan figure Theys Hiyo Eluay. Meanwhile the protesters in Jayapura demonstrated in the Kotaraja area. After several hours they shifted to Jayapura.

“In Kotaraja (they have been demonstrating) since 2pm local time. They then moved off to Jayapura. The action is continuing in Jayapura and is still peaceful”, he said.

When the demonstrators were marching from Kotaraja towards Jayapura, the demonstrators assaulted a member of the Indonesian military (TNI). The reason of the assault is still unclear.

“We have not yet arrested the perpetrators because there are a huge numbers of protesters. A local person was also assaulted by demonstrators in the middle of the street”, he explained.

A source at the Cenderawasih regional military command (Kodam) meanwhile said a member of the headquarters detachment was assaulted by a demonstrator from the West Papua National Committee (KNPB). The person concerned was rescued and has returned home.

Earlier, the Papuan regional police prohibited the KNPB from demonstrating today. Last week however, the KNPB insisted that they would go ahead with the planned actions. (gus/nrl)

[Peringati 1 Mei, Pendemo di Papua Pukul Seorang Anggota TNI – detikNews. Selasa, 01/05/2012. Slightly abridged translation by James Balowski.]