Denpasar – The Papuan Student Alliance (AMP) held another demonstration on Monday July 7 at around 10 am. Like earlier actions, the rally was held in the Renon area of the Balinese provincial capital of Denpasar.
Initially the action proceeded without incident. But less than an hour later when protesters were giving speeches, police forcibly disbursed the rally by spraying protesters with a water cannon.
The students scattered in disarray. As a result of the incident, several motorcycles parked at the location were knocked over.
One of them was a motorcycle belonging to a Denpasar municipal police officer. Denpasar municipal police public relations division head First Police Inspector Ketut Sukadi said that the protesters were sprayed by water because they refused to disperse voluntarily.
“That was after being given a warning several times”, said Sukadi. Sukadi also confirmed that a motorcycle belonging to a police officer was damaged. “It was because it fell over. Thank God the situation is now favourable”, explained Sukadi.
Based on information gathered by Radar Bali, some 25 people took part in the rally which was coordinated by AMP Bali Committee Chairperson Jeeno Dogomo.
At around 10 am, the demonstrators arrived at the Renon eastern parking lot. Denpasar municipal police operations division head Police Commander I Gede Putu Putra Astawa tried to negotiate with the protesters asking them not to give speeches on a main road and for them to disperse voluntarily because Renon is still considered a Covid-19 red zone.
At around 10.10 am they began giving speeches after which they intended to move off in the direction of the Renon traffic circle carrying materials such as AMP flags and several posters reading “Fight forgetting, 22 years since Bloody Biak. The state is responsible for gross human rights violations in Papua”.
In response to this, police established a blockade in front of the parking area. The Sumerta Kelod Village Covid-19 Taskforce, which had also arrived at the scene, repeatedly pleaded with them then ordered them to disband because of the potential spread of Covid-19.
After several warnings were ignored, police sprayed the demonstrators with water from an armoured water cannon vehicle resulting in the protesters scattering in disarray until they eventually disbanded. (rb/mar/mus/JPR)
On July 6, 1998, scores of West Papuans in the main town of Biak island were wounded, arrested or killed when the Indonesian military launched a dawn attack on people who had staged a peaceful demonstration over several days calling for independence from Indonesia. Some were shot on the spot while many others were taken onto Indonesian naval boats and thrown into the ocean before their mutilated bodies washed up on Biak’s shores over following days.
[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was “Dibubarkan Polisi dengan Water Canon, Mahasiswa Papua Kocar-kacir”.]