Yudhistira Amran Saleh, Jakarta – Hundreds of Papuan demonstrators from the Papuan Student Alliance (AMP) demanding independence for West Papua have been taken to the Metro Jaya regional police headquarters. The transportation of the activists had to be done in stages because the police did not have enough vehicles to accommodate all of them.
“The number of demonstrators was 328 people. The first load was 127 people, the second 201 people”, said Central Jakarta District Police Chief Senior Commissioner Hendro Pandowo at the Hotel Indonesia traffic circle on Jl. MH Thamrin in Central Jakarta on Tuesday December 1.
The first load of demonstrators were transported using police cars and trucks. Meanwhile the remainder were taken by Metro Mini public buses. Police officers escorting the protesters were also transported by Metro Mini buses that had by chance passed by.
“There weren’t enough vehicles. So we used Metro Mini [buses]”, said Pandowo. According to Pandowo, the student protest was illegal because they did not have a permit to demonstrate. They also attempted to break through a police barricade in order to march to the nearby State Palace.
The police then fired tear-gas to disperse the demonstrators who ran in the direction of Jl. MH Thamrin in the direction of Sudirman. The demonstrators managed to cause a traffic jam between Jl. Sudirman and Jl. MH Thamrin. The situation is now calm but the weather cloudy.
[Translated by James Balowski for the Indoleft News Service. The original title of the report was Pendemo Asal Papua Diangkut ke Polda dengan Mobil Polisi dan Metro Mini.]