Yogya police detain local residents, Red Cross workers helping besieged Papua students

Tempo.co – July 16, 2016
View from West Papua student dormatory in Yogyakarta - July 16, 2016 (Ipma Papua Diy)
View from West Papua student dormatory in Yogyakarta - July 16, 2016 (Ipma Papua Diy)

Shinta Maharani, Yogyakarta – Students and activists at the Papuan student dormitory in the Central Java city of Yogyakarta have been besieged by hundreds of security personnel from the Yogyakarta regional police and the Mobile Brigade (Brimob) paramilitary police.

They have had to endure hunger and thirst because they have been unable to leave the Kamasan I dormitory on Jl. Kusumanegara since the morning of Friday July 15.

People’s Union for West Papua Freedom (PRPPB) spokesperson Roy Karoba said that the residence of the Miliran kampung (urban village) living in the vicinity of the Papuan dormitory and volunteers from the Yogyakarta City Indonesian Red Cross (PMI) who tried to bring food into the dormitory were detained by police.

“There were local residents in solidarity [with the Papuans] who brought food. But it was confiscated by police”, said Roy on Friday evening.

The PMI volunteers had wanted to distribute food that had been brought by pro-democracy activists. But they were detained and were unable to enter the dormitory.

Yogyakarta PMI chairperson Herry Zudianto, who said that the distribution of logistical aid to the Papua Dormitory was carried out by the PMI Yogyakarta, did not know exactly what had happened to the aid. Another Yogyakarta PMI official said that they had heard that the PMI driver was not given permission by police to bring in the logistics over concerns that they would be taken hostage.

Police also used tear gas on three separate occasions. When Tempo sought confirmation on the reasons for this, the police denied that tear gas had been used. “There was no tear gas”, Yogyakarta municipal police operational section chief superintendent Sigit Haryadi replied briefly when contacted.

At around 9.30pm, Miliran residents and pro-democracy activists again attempted to enter the Papuan dormitory and succeeded in bringing in some food. Some of the Brimob officer left the dormitory just before midnight.

Plans for a peaceful action by Papuan students and pro-democracy activists supporting the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP) on Friday afternoon were unsuccessful. The action was forcibly broken up by hundreds of officers from the Yogyakarta regional police and Brimob along with other social organisations.

The social organisations arrived at the Papua student dormitory in the morning and stayed until late afternoon. The groups, which included the Communication Forum of Indonesian Veterans’ Children (FKPPI), the Pancasila Youth (PP), the Paksi Katon [which sees itself as a guardian of Javanese culture and the Yogyakarta sultanate – JB] and the Yogyakarta Militia (Laskar Jogja) forcibly broke up the planned action. They also brought weapons such as bamboo sticks and clubs.

They also shouted and screamed at Papuans who exited the dormitory using obscene words and the names of animals [dogs, monkeys and pigs according to reports – JB]. Some also hurled stones into the dormitory grounds.

A member of the Umbulharjo sub-district FKPPI, Elly Kinadi, who came to the dormitory said that they rejected the planned action by the activists and Papuan students accusing them of being part of the Free Papua Movement (OPM). At least 35 members of the FKPPI arrived at the Papuan dormitory. “We along with the Pancasila Youth, Paksi Katon and Laskar Jogja reject [the action”, said Kinadi.

[Translated by James Balowski for the Indoleft News Service. The original title of the report was Mahasiswa Papua Dikepung, Warga Kampung Yogya Kirim Makanan.]

Source: https://m.tempo.co/read/news/2016/07/16/078788008/mahasiswa-papua-dikepung-warga-kampung-yogya-kirim-makanan