Indonesian police ban activities celebrating OPM anniversary on December 1

CNN Indonesia – November 27, 2019
Papuan pro-independence rally in Jakarta – August 15, 2017 (CNN)
Papuan pro-independence rally in Jakarta – August 15, 2017 (CNN)

Jakarta – The Indonesian police have banned people in Papua from holding celebrations in the lead up to the anniversary of the Free Papua Organisation (OPM) on December 1.

“The Papua Kapolda [regional police] have already conveyed that there won’t be any celebratory activities”, National Police Public Information Division Chief Senior Commissioner Asep Adi Saputra told journalists at the National Police Headquarters in Jakarta on Wednesday November 27.

Despite being banned, Saputra said that there will be no special security organised and the situation in Papua is favourable.

The National Police Headquarters has also not sent any additional personnel to the Land of the Cenderawasih as Papua is known. “There will not be any significant [increase] and [we will] utilise the existing forces (police) that are in Papua”, he said.

Nevertheless, the police will maintain surveillance and security for mine workers in Papua bearing in mind that there have been several past incidents in the lead up to the OPM’s anniversary where mine workers have been the victims of attacks. “So mining workers don’t feel disturbed”, he said.

Earlier, National Police Headquarters Public Information Bureau Head Brigadier General Argo Yuwono said that police have been mapping out areas which are prone to conflict in Papua in the lead up to the anniversary.

According to Yuwono, this is to determine whether or not there is a need for additional troops from outside the Papua regional police to maintain security there.

“Like what kind of susceptibilities, which areas, what is the suitability, what is the susceptibility like, it’s still being identified by intelligence”, Yuwono told journalists in Jakarta on Friday November 22.

The Papua regional police will deploy 1,300 personnel to secure the region in the lead up to the anniversary. According to Papua regional police chief Inspector General Paulus Waterpauw this is to provide a sense of security to local communities.

He explained that the regional police have already reached an agreement with local governments to ban any and all forms of activity being held in the context of commemorating the OPM’s anniversary. (mjo/pmg)

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was “Polri Larang Kegiatan Perayaan HUT OPM 1 Desember”.]