Four injured, 11 arrested after police fire on protesters in Manokwari

Berita Satu – October 23, 2012
Police arrest KNPB demonstrator in Jayapura - October 23, 2012 (Berita Satu)
Police arrest KNPB demonstrator in Jayapura - October 23, 2012 (Berita Satu)

Antara/Ratna Nuraini – A demonstration by the West Papua National Committee (KNPB) that took place in Manokwari this morning ended in chaos. As a result of the incident, 11 people were taken away by the Manokwari district police.

The action by members of the KNPB, which was held to support a meeting of the International Parliament of West Papua (IPWP) in London, took place in the vicinity of Jl. Gunung Salju in front of the University of Papua in Amban, Manokwari. The action had been taking place since around 9am.

After giving speeches, the protesters who numbered around 100 planned to hold a long-march to the Borasi Square. But the plan was thwarted when they were blocked and forcibly disbursed by police.

As a result, the protesters became enraged and pelted security personnel with stones. In response, police fired warning shots resulting in four people being injured. In addition to the four who were inured, two police officers were injured after being hit by rocks.

When contacted by Berita Satu, Papuan regional police public relations chief Assistant Superintendent Gede Sumerta admitted that as many as 11 people are currently being detained by district police. They are FN, AW, OA, DA, ET, DM, KJ, PP, OM and AN.

In addition to questioning the 11, the police also confiscated four KNPB and United Nations flags as well as banners and pamphlets brought by the demonstrators. Sumerta said that they did not come across any Morning Star flags, either brought by the demonstrators or flown openly.

When asked about the four people hit by gunshots, Sumerta stated that they are yet to receive a report from the Manokwari district police. According to Sumerta, based on information received from an Indonesian Embassy staff member in London, Aris Nugroho, it turns out that there was no meeting that discussed Papua in the British parliament.

“So news that there were discussions about Papua are untrue”, said Sumerta adding that according to Jayapura municipal police, no demonstrations supporting the IPWP in London took place in Jayapura.

Nevertheless, Jayapura police could be seen on guard in a number of places and had deployed Barracuda armoured vehicles in and around the Imbi area in Jayapura.

[Dukung Rapat Papua di London, 11 Demonstran Ditangkap di Manokwari – Selasa, 23 Oktober 2012. Translated by James Balowski.]