Jakarta – Hundreds of people from the Papuan Student Alliance (AMP) and the Indonesian People’s Front for West Papua (FRI-WP) gathered on Jl. Pangeran Diponegoro in Central Jakarta on Friday December 1.
In speeches during the rally, which coincidently is next door to the Sri Lanka Embassy, they demanded the closure of the PT Freeport Indonesia gold-and-copper mine in Papua and self-determination for the West Papuan people.
“Today is the commemoration of West Papuan independence. Because West Papua declared its independence on December 1, 1961”, said FRI-WP spokesperson Surya Anta.
According to Surya Anta, nineteen days later then President Sukarno declared operation Trikora in Yogyakarta in order to seize West Papua and dissolve a country that according to Sukarno was a puppet state.
“Papua was never involved in the process of Indonesia’s independence from Holland. Papua had its own trajectory to independence”, added Surya.
Although both West Papua and Indonesia were both colonised by the Netherlands, there were however two differences between West Papuan and Indonesian independence.
“First, in terms of administration it was different and in terms of the sense of shared destiny it was also different”, continued Surya.
Surya said that these administrative differences were because the centre of Dutch colonial administration in Indonesia was Batavia (now Jakarta), while the colonial administrative centre in West Papua was in Hollandia or Jayapura.
Warta Kota heard singing and shouts from the action participants. “Papua is not red-and-white [referring to the Indonesian national flag]”, they shouted.
Currently police are still on alert in the vicinity of the action in order to maintain public order and security.
In addition to this, Jl. Pangeran Diponegoro was also closed temporarily to traffic until the action finished and the situation has been declared “conducive”.
Operation Trikora or Tri Komando Rakjat (Triple Commands of the People) was declared by Indonesian founding President Sukarno in the Central Java city of Yogyakarta on December 19, 1961. It was an Indonesian military operation aimed at seizing and annexing the Dutch overseas territory of Netherlands New Guinea in 1961-62 rather than one intended to suppress a nascent independence movement. The territorial dispute was ended with the signing of the New York Agreement on August 15, 1962 in which the Netherlands agreed to hand over administration of Western New Guinea to Indonesia pending a UN administered plebiscite. Seven years later under the newly installed Suharto dictatorship, the treaty led to the so-call “Act of Free Choice” in 1969 in which 1025 hand-picked Papuans “voted” at gun-point for the territory remain part of Indonesia.
[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was Aliansi Mahasiswa Papua dan Front Rakyat Indonesia untuk West Papua: Tutup Freeport.]