TNI commander orders removal of election boycott graffiti in Jayapura

KNPB News – April 23, 2014
KNPB placard in Yahukimo calling for election boycott - July 8, 2014
KNPB placard in Yahukimo calling for election boycott - July 8, 2014

Jayapura – The call by the West Papua National Committee (KNPB) chairperson to boycott the July 9 presidential election in Papua has become a threat for Indonesia and West Papua. The call was not just spread widely through the online and print media but also by the mass base through SMS messages and graffiti drawn on walls, buildings, on roads and public places in several parts of Jayapura city.

The message, “Boycott the 2014 presidential election and the solution is a referendum” that was widely seen by many people, was viewed as a threat by the colonialists in general and the Papua Regional Military Command (Kodam) and the Papua regional police (Polda), who felt particularly disturbed.

Apparently, the Cenderawasih regional military commander has already ordered its members to remove the graffiti and today, Wednesday April 23 between 8.30-10am, soldiers could be seen painting over walls with graffiti in various parts of Jayapura.

One of the locations that draw their attention today was on Jl. Kamwolker, where the KNPB headquarters is located, directly in front of the Cendrawasih University Unit 6 dormitory.

As the soldiers were cleaning off the graffiti on the walls beside the road, three senior KNPB members passed by. One of the TNI members who was cleaning the graffiti said, “We’re painting over and removing this graffiti on the orders of the regional military commander because there are visitors who will pass by”.

Hearing this, KNPB general secretary Ones Suhuniap told the TNI member, “If the regional military commander ordered that the graffiti on the walls be cleaned it means that we, the KNPB will order our members to draw it again in every city in the Land of Papua, from Sorong to Merauke”.

At the same location, KNPB national spokesperson Bazoka Logo told the TNI members, “You go ahead and repaint and wipe off the graffiti because we’ll draw it again, that’s the project, so please keep working”.

What was odd was that the ones removing the graffiti were indigenous Papuans with black curly hair who were members of the TNI, while fully-armed TNI and Polri personnel with strait hair who were their bosses, stood guard on the side of the street.

[Slightly abridged translation by James Balowski for the Indoleft news service.]