Solidarity action in Jakarta slams police brutality in West Papua

Suara Papua – July 3, 2012
NAPAS activist hold rally at State Palace in Jakarta - July 2, 2012 (KPRM-PRD)
NAPAS activist hold rally at State Palace in Jakarta - July 2, 2012 (KPRM-PRD)

Oktovianus Pogau, Jakarta – Scores of youths and students from the group Papuan National Solidarity (NAPAS) held a peaceful action in front of the Indonesian national police headquarters and the State Palace in Jakarta on the afternoon of Monday July 2 in protest against the spate of recent shootings in West Papua.

The 25 or so demonstrators, who arrived at the police headquarters in a Kopaja bus at around 11am, brought posters and unfurled two large banners about human rights violations.

Taking turns, the protesters gave speeches saying that the police are the actors behind and the ones responsible for the human rights violations in West Papua, particularly the spate shootings that have been taking place over the last few months.

Action coordinator Frans Tomoki said in a speech that the spate of recent shootings in West Papua is just a plot by the Indonesian government, specifically the police, to scapegoat the pro-democracy movement in West Papua.

“This [year’s] national police anniversary is smeared in the blood of Papuan people. KNPB [West Papua National Committee] deputy chairperson Mako Tabuni was shot dead without any clear grounds. When there are shooting incidents, the security forces always cite unknown persons (OTK). The police must back this up, and take responsibility, and immediately put a stop to the spate of shooting cases that have been taking place in the land of Papua”, said Tomoki.

Tomoki added that the presence of large numbers of TNI (Indonesian military) and police in West Papua is not to safeguard, protect and watch over the Papuan people, but rather to murder and commit gross human rights violations against civilians.

Surya Anta from the People’s Liberation Party (PPR) called for an immediate end to human rights violations in West Papua and for [an investigation] to find out who is behind the shootings.

At around 12.30pm the demonstrators headed towards the bus to continue the action at the Presidential Palace in Central Jakarta. Before the protesters set out for the Palace, staff from the police headquarters requested that representatives from the demonstrators meet with them to discuss the aims of the action so that it can be followed up. Tomoki however refused to meet with police.

“We’ve already met with them many times, but not one demand has been addressed. They consider our voices to be rubbish, so it’s preferable for us not to meet with them again”, Tomoki told Suara Papua during a break in the action.

The demonstrators arrived at the State Palace at 1pm precisely. Scores of police in full uniform as well as dozens of police ‘thugs’ in civilian clothing were on alert to secure the action.

Otis Tipagau, the chairperson of the Semarang Papua Student Communication Forum (FKMP-S) called on the TNI and police to take responsibility for the spate of shootings in West Papua. “The national police are celebrating their anniversary here in Jakarta, but in Papua security forces continue to conduct brutal shootings and commit gross human rights violations”, shouted Tipagau.

Satisfied after giving speeches, NAPAS coordinator Marten Goo read out a statement by NAPAS to coincide with 66th national police anniversary, saying the police are still committing humanitarian crimes in the land of Papua.

In the statement NAPAS demanded: First, that the police immediately end the stigmatisation and scapegoating of the Papuan people and activists; second, that the police immediately and unconditionally release Bucthar Tabuni and other political prisoners; third that the police immediately and transparently uncover who is behind the OTK shootings; fourth that the police immediately stop sending additional police to West Papua and withdraw Densus 88 (the counter-terrorist unit Detachment 88) from West Papua; fifth that the police immediately arrest the soldiers are carrying out the shooting of Papuan people; sixth, that those responsible for shooting Mako Musa Tabuni be brought to trial immediately; seventh, put an end to all forms of military businesses in Papua and; eighth, stop sending ‘invisible’ troops to West Papua.

After reading out the statement, the protesters then disbanded in an orderly fashion. The action was also attended by Papuan student representatives from Semarang (Central Java), Bogor (West Java), Salatiga (Central Java) and Jakarta.

[NAPAS: HUT Polri Berlumuran Darah Rakyat Papua – Suara Papua. 03 July 2012. Translated by James Balowski.]