The commemoration of Labour Day or May Day in the Central Java city of Yogyakarta was centred at the Zero Kilometre point in front of the Central Post Office. Along with the hundreds of protesters, students from the Papuan Student Alliance (AMP) used the rally to call for independence.
In addition to giving speeches, the demonstrators also brought paraphernalia such as symbols of the Morning Star which they wore while articulating their demands.
“There is a different history between Indonesia and Papua. Papua should not go begging to Indonesia. We students from Papua demand that Indonesia provide space for democratic dialogue”, said Papuan student Opik during a break in the action on Tuesday May 1.
Opik said that after decades of being part of Indonesia, the people of Papua still feel that they have not gained a reasonable level of prosperity. According to Opik, even though there has been infrastructure development, this has still not brought prosperity to Indonesia.
“Just come to Papua, right now one person in Papua dies every day due to violence. Indonesia should provide economic, political and cultural independence to Papua”, he said.
Aside from using the rally to call for independence, the protesters also called for better social welfare guarantees for workers. “We demand the abolition of outsourcing and labour contract systems”, said action coordinator Lutfi Mubarok.
[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was “Ikut Peringati May Day di Jogja, Mahasiswa Papua Minta Merdeka”.]