Jakarta – Scores of Papuan students have again flown the Morning Star flag during a protest action demanding a referendum for Papua in front of the State Palace in Jakarta on Wednesday August 28. They also asked President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo to meet with them.
The Morning Star flag was also flown during a similar protest in front of the State Palace last week.
Based on CNN Indonesia’s observations, the student could be seen flying the flags directly in front of the Palace. Four flags were flown in all using long bamboo poles.
In addition to the flags, the students could be seen wearing shirts with pictures of the Morning Star flag on them.
Before the protesters arrived at the Palace, several police officers that were on guard prohibited the demonstrators from flying the flags.
The officers could be heard asking the students to be tolerant in flying the flag on a road located in front of the army headquarters and the Department of Foreign Affairs.
Upon being informed of the prohibition, the protesters shouted and called for the flag to still be flown regardless.
Tough negotiations followed between police and representatives of the protesters. A number of students could even be seen forcing police to allow a command vehicle to approach the State Palace.
After a short negotiation, the police could be seen making way for and giving permission to the demonstrators to move forward to protest in front of the Palace and fly the Morning Star flag.
Speaking in front of the Palace, one of the speakers called on Widodo to meet with the protesters. They were asking for a response to a request from the demonstrators demanding a referendum for Papua.
The demonstrators also set fire to dozens of tyres and the smoke billowed up into the air in front of the Palace.
During the action the students condemned the siege on Papuan student dormitories in Surabaya, Malang and Semarang and the people who assaulted demonstrators during arrests at rallies in Ternate and Ambon.
In addition to this, they demanded an end to racism against the Papuan people and called for the police and TNI (Indonesian military) officers who committed acts of racism to be sacked.
In an official statement the demonstrators rejected an extension of Special Autonomy in Papua and instead asked the Indonesian government to give the Papuan people the right to self-determination.
As of posting this report, the demonstrators could still be seen dancing accompanied by songs of the Papuan independence movement struggle.
They could also be seen setting fire to old tyres creating plumes of thick smoke in and around the location. Security personnel took no action whatsoever.
Police did not even attempt to put out the burning tyres even though the smoke was billowing over the State Palace. They simply formed a barricade so that the demonstrators could not get close to the Palace gates. (jps)
[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was “Bendera Bintang Kejora Dikibarkan di Seberang Istana”.]