Papuans in Jakarta condemn killings and arrests of activists in Wamena

Tribune News – December 18, 2012
West Papua protesters demonstrate at police headquarters in Jakarta - December 18, 2012 (Tribune)

Adi Suhendi, Jakarta – Scores of Papuan youths living in Jakarta held a demonstration in front of the Security Maintenance Agency (Baharkam) building at the national police headquarters in South Jakarta on Tuesday December 18.

The protesters unfurled a 1 x 1.5 meter banner with the message, “State crimes, the TNI [Indonesian military] and polri [national police] have shot, arrested humanitarian activists and burnt down the Wamena Papua Traditional Council office”.

They also wrote their demands in a cartoon titled, “The violent actions by the TNI and polri are just security to safeguard foreign interests in Papua”.

Action coordinator Martheen Goo [from Papua National Solidarity, NAPAS – JB] said that the protest action represented Papuan’s sense of mistrust in the national police headquarters.

“When the police in the regions commits crimes in the field, the national police headquarters just claim that there was an attempt to resist”, Goo told Tribune News on the grounds of the Baharkam building.

Goo also responded to the arbitrary arrests of several Papuan activists on charges that they were from a separatist group committing treason.

“Yet they were [just] local people and the best of Papuans who take pride in giving voice to the truth, but when they speak the truth, the state scapegoats them with accusations of being a separatist group or committing treason, but what are the separatist or treasonable actions in this? It is foolishness”, he said.

Goo charged that the TNI and the national police are maintaining a climate of violence in Papua and questioned why the police have been unable to uncover who is behind the acts of violence committed by so-called unidentified individuals (OTK). Goo suggested that this is being done intentionally by the TNI and police as justification to carry out sweeps in the land of Papua.

“It is suspected that the OTK are being maintained, in order to provide legitimisation in conducting sweeps. It is suspect that it is the TNI and the police that are maintaining them (the OTK). This is foolishness”, he asserted.

[Puluhan Pemuda Papua Berdemo di Mabes Polri – Selasa, 18 Desember 2012. Translated by James Balowski.]