Reiner Brabar, Kota Sorong – On Monday January 11, hundreds of protesters from the Papuan People's Front (FRP) who oppose the extension of Special Autonomy (Otsus) held a long-march from Kilometre 9 to the Sorong City Regional House of Representatives (DPRD) carrying a coffin with the message "The late Otsus".
Action coordinator Marius Asso said, "The Papuan people in the land of the Cenderawasih have declared that they reject Special Autonomy", referring to the Bird of Paradise as Papuan is known.
According to Asso, 19 years of Special Autonomy in Papua has failed to protect or bring prosperity to indigenous Papuans, thus, he said, the Papuan people are united in rejecting Special Autonomy in Papua.
"Jakarta, stop forcing the Papuan people to accept Otsus. We here are asking the people's representatives to convey to the Indonesian president that the Papua people are ready to bury Otsus which is already dead", he said.
In addition to this, Asso called on the Sorong City DPRD to pass on their wishes to President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo in Jakarta.
Another protesters, Apey Tarami, asserted that all of the demonstrators at today's action are asking the central government to immediately halt military operations in Papua and immediately withdraw troops from Nduga regency, Intan Jaya, and from throughout the land of Papua.
"Papua is not a military operational zone", asserted Tarami.
The action was watched over by hundreds of police officers from the Sorong municipal police. Police attempted to stop the rally at one point but the protesters continued with the action.
The protesters were finally received by the speaker of the Sorong DPRD and after giving speeches and conveying their demands, they dispersed in an orderly fashion.
The FRP made a number of demands of the DPRD including asking Jakarta to stop deliberations on the extension of Special Autonomy and to listen to the statements and demands of the Papuan people through the Papuan People's Petition opposing Special Autonomy, explicitly rejecting the continuation of Special Autonomy in Papua, that the Papuan people strongly condemn any parties that compromise with Jakarta on revisions to the Special Autonomy Law, that the Indonesian government immediately withdraw all organic and non-organic troops from Papua, for a halt to military operation in Nduga and throughout Papua and the closure of foreign investments in the land of Papua.
[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Jakarta Stop Paksa Orang Papua Terima Otsus".]