Papuan students in Yogya protest 1969 ‘Act of Free Choice’

Selangkah Magazine – July 15, 2013
Student protesters from AMP hold rally in Yogyakarta - July 15, 2013 (Papua Post)
Student protesters from AMP hold rally in Yogyakarta - July 15, 2013 (Papua Post)

Yogyakarta – Hundreds of demonstrators from the Papua Student Alliance (AMP) in the Central Java city of Yogyakarta held a peaceful action and free speech forum today, Monday July 15.

The action, which was held at the Gadjah Mada University (UGM) traffic circle, was held to protest the 1969 UN sponsored referendum on West Papua’s integration with Indonesia (Pepera, Act of Free Choice), which the group said was legally flawed and ridden with manipulations.

According to Majalah Selangkah’s observations, the protesters began gathering in front of the UGM traffic circle at 10am, with the demonstration starting with prayers. One by one they gave their political views, shouted slogans and presented a theatrical drama protesting the Pepera.

Action coordinator Surya told Majalah Selangkah that the AMP action was not just being held in Yogyakarta. “[Similar] demonstrations are being held by the AMP simultaneously in several cities in Java to protest the Pepera that took place between July 14 and August 2, 1969, because the process by which the Pepera was held was legally flawed and not in accordance with international stipulations or the New York Agreement of August 15, 1962”, he said.

“We will be consistent in and continue to struggle to articulate the wishes of the West Papuan people who were forced by Indonesia to become part of Indonesia and we will never stop struggling as long as Indonesia continues to colonise the Papuan nation”, he continued.

The AMP raised three demands during the demonstration. First, the AMP demanded that they be given the freedom and right to determine their own future as a democratic solution for the Papuan people.

Second, the AMP called for the closure of and an end to exploitive activities by all multinational companies owned by imperialist countries including Freeport, BP, LNG Tangguh, Medco and Corindo, as well as the Merauke Integrated Food and Energy Estate (MIFEE) and others throughout the land of Papua.

Third, the AMP explicitly rejects the presence of and calls on Indonesia to withdraw all organic and non-organic military and police (TNI-Polri) from the land of Papua in order to end all forms of humanitarian crimes by the Indonesian state against the Papuan people. (Abraham Goo/Yakobus Dogomo/MS)

[Peringati 44 Tahun PEPERA, AMP Padati Bundaran UGM – Majalah Selangkah. Senin, 15 Juli 2013. Translated by James Balowski.]