Police arrest three in Jayapura during Papua Independence Day rally

Metro TV News – December 1, 2012
Victor Yeimo negotiating with Papua police chief Alfred Papare moments before his arrest - December 1, 2012 (KNPB)

Jayapura – West Papua National Committee (KNPB) chairperson Victor Yeimo was arrested by police during a protest action in the Waena area, Heram district, in Jayapura city on Saturday. He was arrested along with two other colleagues, Hukum Kiman and Ebes Sala.

The arrests occurred when demonstrators led by Yeimo began marching from the Waena III State Housing Company (Perumnas) towards the Expo area. Hundreds of police from the Jayapura municipal police were mobilised and police initially requested that they disburse. The KNPB were intending to commemorate December 1, which is usually referred to as Papua Independence Day.

Earlier, they held speeches at the Waena III Perumnas public transport roundabout and were determined to hold a long-march to the Waena Expo complex. After marching for around 500 metres, the demonstrators where blocked by police in front of the Waena diesel power plant, who requested that they disperse. The demonstrators refused and police dispersed them forcibly by firing tear gas into the crowd.

The 50 or so protesters immediately dispersed but not before three people were detained and placed in a paddy wagon. Jayapura municipal police chief Police Commissioner Alfred said that they were arrested because the protest did not have a permit.

“I issued an order to block them in front of the Dian Harapan hospital. While negotiations were taking place they remained determined [to march] and we used force to disburse the demonstrators”, he said.

The protesters were disbursed after tear gas was fired twice when they pelted people in the vicinity [with stones]. “As a result of the [stone] throwing a person was injured in the vicinity of their elbow as a result of the [stone] throwing and is now being treated in hospital”, said Alfred. As a result of the incident a number of shops were closed. (MI/DOR

[Peringati Kemerdekaan Papua, Ketua KNPB Ditangkap – Metrotvnews.com. Sabtu, 1 Desember 2012. Slightly abridged translation by James Balowski.]