Jakarta – A joint unit of TNI (Indonesian military) and police intercepted scores of activists from the Indonesian People’s Front for West Papua (FRI-WP), the Papuan Student Alliance (AMP) and the Papuan Central Highlands Indonesian Student Association (AMPTPI) at the North entrance to the National Monument (Monas) in Central Jakarta on Wednesday December 19.
The activists had earlier planned to hold a rally in front of the army’s headquarters (Mabes TNI AD) to commemorate 57 years since the launch of the Trikora military operation which the group says was illegal.
In speeches the activists also called for West Papuan independence and for an end to the slaughter of people in Nduga where the TNI is conducting military operations following the fatal shooting of Trans Papua road construction workers on December 2 by the West Papua National Liberation Army (TPN).
“We are always being killed in our own land comrades”, said one of the activists in a speech.
Unable to hold the action in front of the Mabes TNI AD, the activists then marched to the National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM) offices in the Menteng suburb of Central Jakarta.
FRI-WP spokesperson Surya Anta explained that they would continue with the action commemorating Trikora even though the joint unit of TNI and police were deployed to stop them. “After this from here we’ll go to Komnas HAM”, said Anta.
At around 1pm the activists arrived at the Komnas HAM offices although they were unable to enter the grounds of the building because the front gate was closed. As a result, the activists held the action outside the Komnas HAM offices.
In a speech Anta demanding that the Komnas HAM commissioners meet with them and discuss the alleged human rights violations taking place in Papua. (fir/kid)
Operation Trikora 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 harassing and forcing the Dutch out of Netherlands New Guinea in 1961-62 rather than one intended to suppress a nascent independence movement.
[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was “Diadang di Mabes TNI AD, Aktivis Papua Berorasi di Komnas HAM”.]