Peaceful rally in Jakarta calls for Freeport closure, self-determination for West Papua

CNN Indonesia – December 1, 2017
Papua independence rally at LBH Jakarta - December 1, 2017 (CNN)
Papua independence rally at LBH Jakarta - December 1, 2017 (CNN)

Dhio Faiz, Jakarta – A demonstration held in Jakarta this morning by hundreds of students and youths from the Papua Student Alliance (AMP) and the Indonesian People’s Front for West Papua (FRI-WP) has ended peacefully.

The action began at 6.30am with a march from the Jakarta Legal Aid Foundation (LBH Jakarta) offices in Central Jakarta to the offices of PT Freeport Indonesia. The protesters only got around 20 metres however before they were blocked by hundreds of fully equipped police.

An advocacy team from the LBH Jakarta then asked police not to forcibly break up the demonstration with a guarantee that the rally would proceed peacefully.

The police then gave the protesting groups a time limit of until 11am to hold an action in front of the Megaria bus stop. The protesters, accompanied by the LBH advocacy team, were eventually able to hold a peaceful action in front of the Megaria bus stop.

During the action they read out a six-point statement. First, they demanded the closure of the Freeport gold-and-copper mine in Papua and called on the government give the Papuan people the right to self-determination.

Next they asked for support for the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP) to join the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG), the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) and the United Nations.

Finally, they called for the Indonesian people to support Papua’s struggle for self-determination.

After reading out the statement and giving flowers to police as symbol of peace, the protesters began disbanding. They also cleaned up the left over rubbish from the rally then returned to the LBH Jakarta offices.

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was Aksi Tuntut Pembebasan Papua di Jakarta Berakhir Damai.]