Contributor Manado, Ronny Adolof Buol – As reported earlier, Papuans living in North Sulawesi, specifically those in Manado city held a protest action demanding justice for the Land of Papua on Tuesday October 23.
Although they were not joined by the thousands of people expected earlier, the demonstration by several hundred people managed to attract the attention of Manado residents because it passed through the main streets of the city.
The demonstrators began the action on the grounds of the Sam Ratulangi University (Unsrat) rectorate office then held a long-march towards the South Sulawesi Regional House of Representatives (DPRD) building. Throughout the march, the protesters called out their demands. “We demand justice for the Land of Papua. We want independence”, shouted the demonstrators accompanied by their own unique singing.
In addition to demanding independence for Papua, the demonstrators who came from the North Sumatra Papuan Students, Youth and People’s Solidarity (SPMPMP) also declared their support for the International Parliamentarians for West Papua (IPWP) meeting in London.
“The IPWP [meeting] that is currently taking place in London, England, which is being attended by senior Papuan leaders, is endeavoring to urge the UN to acknowledge the Papuan nation’s struggle”, explained action coordinator Nenaluck.
The demonstrators also said that Papua needs a referendum in order that the Papuan people can determine the fate of their own nation. “The nation and motherland of Papua has been a sacrificial offering for the economic, political and dominating interests of Holland, America and Indonesia”, shouted one of the protesters during a speech in front of the DPRD.
The demonstrators also conveyed their wishes on the grounds of the DPRD. “We hope that the South Sulawesi DPRD can accommodate our hopes and wishes. We have long experienced injustice. Regional autonomy has not provided an answer. We want independence”, said Nenaluck.
A written statement and list of demands signed by various different student groups at the demonstration was handed over to the DPRD. DPRD Deputy Speaker Arthur Kotambunan who made time to receive the demonstrators explained that they accepted the protesters wishes.
“We accept the wishes of our sisters and brothers from Papua, and will try to convey these wishes to the national House of Representatives”, Kotambunan told the protesters. The demonstration, which was closely watched over by police, proceeded in an orderly and peaceful manner, although it did create traffic congestion on several of the city’s streets.
[Warga Papua di Manado Tuntut Papua Merdeka – Kompas.com. Selasa, 23 Oktober 2012. Translated by James Balowski.]