Malang students protest President Widodo’s Papua Christmas visit

VIVA News – December 19, 2014
West Papuan students from the AMP protest in Malang - December 19, 2014 (Viva)
West Papuan students from the AMP protest in Malang - December 19, 2014 (Viva)

Mohammad Arief Hidayat, D.A. Pitaloka, Malang – As many as 30 Papuan students from the Papua Student Alliance (AMP) in the East Java city of Malang held a protest action in front of the Malang Regional House of Representatives (DPRD) on Friday December 19.

The protesters were opposing a planned visit to Papua by President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo to celebrate Christmas on December 27. This opposition follows the brutal actions by the military in Paniai regency on December 8 that resulted in the fatal shooting of civilians.

“We resolutely rejected Jokowi’s visit to the land of Papua. This (the December 8 riot) was the Jokowi regime’s worst Christmas gift”, said action coordinator Yustus Yekusamon.

The students called on President Widodo to give the Papuan people the freedom to determine their own future. They also called for the withdrawal of the Indonesian military and police from Papua.

The demands were conveyed following the tragic and brutal actions by the military in Paniai that killed eight people and injured 13 others. “Many military actions have resulted in deaths. This is a reminder of the theft of our rights to be free to determine our own future”, he said.

During the action they cited several human rights violations by the military since 1961 such as the murder of Papua national figure Arnold Clemens in 1984 and Thomas Wanggai in 1996.

Indeed Papua Presidium Council chairperson Theys Hiyo Eluay, was also murdered in 2001. There was also the shooting of West Papua National Committee (KNPB) military commissariat coordinator Hubertus Mabel in 2012. The group also opposed transmigration to Papua.

The action by the students was held to commemorate the Trikora that was declared by founding President Sukarno at the North Yogyakarta Square on December 19, 1961. This was despite the fact, they said, that Papua established the State of West Papua on December 1, 1961. Sukarno viewed the new country as a [Dutch] puppet state.

The protesters also demanded an end to all exploitation of natural resources in Papua such as the Freeport-McMoRan gold and copper mine and the Tangguh liquefied natural gas field in Bintuni and Santa Fe in Sorong. The students said that the exploitation of these natural resources was a crime against the Papuan people.

During the action the protesters sang the song Bintang Kejora (Morning Star). Several students also brought bags with pictures of the Morning Star flag on them. The action was monitored by police and Indonesian military officers who watched over the action until it was finished. (ase)


Trikora – After the Dutch announced the formation of a Nieuw Guinea Raad on April 1961, with the intention of creating an independent Papuan state, Indonesia’s founding President Sukarno declared military confrontation in his Tri Komando Rakjat (TRIKORA, Triple Commands of the People) speech in Yogyakarta on December 19, 1961.

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the report was Mahasiswa Papua Demo Tolak Kedatangan Jokowi.]