Jakarta – Simultaneous protest actions held in three cities by the Papua People's Petition (PRP) have also taken up the situation in Palestine which has been heating up of late. They called for an immediate halt to the attacks on Palestine people in the Gaza Strip.
This was included in a leaflet distributed at the actions, one of which was held in front of the regional police headquarters in the Central Java city of Yogyakarta on Friday May 21.
"Withdraw the military from the land of West Papua, release West Papuan political prisoners, give the right of self-determination as a democratic solution for the West Papuan nation and end the war in Palestine", read a digital leaflet which has already been confirmed.
Actions by the Papuan People's Petition were held simultaneously in three cities: in front of the State Palace in Jakarta, on Jalan Asia-Afrika in the West Java provincial capital of Bandung and in Yogyakarta. The actions were held as marathons, starting at 8 am and ending at 1 pm.
Lakar Sime (not their real name), one of the action coordinators, said that they were demanding three things of the government related to the situation in Papua which has heated up of late. This includes rejecting the government's labeling of the Free Papua Movement (OPM) as a terrorist organisation.
Sime said that labeling the OPM terrorists will only legitimise violence by security forces, including against civilians. He claimed that civilians frequently become victims of violence by the TNI (Indonesian military) and Polri (Indonesian police).
"Because in every incident we have seen on the ground it's usually civilians who, Papuans who suffer violence, who are often labeled KKB [armed criminal groups] rebels, OPM and so forth", Sime told CNN Indonesia on Friday.
In general, the actions were held to oppose militarism in Papua and the extension of Special Autonomy in the land of the Bird of Paradise as Papua is known.
Special Autonomy is form of special authority which is acknowledged and given to Papua to regulate and manage public affairs through its own initiatives based on the aspirations and basic rights of the Papuan people. This is embodied in Law Number 21/2001 which was revised by Regulation in Lieu of Law Number 1/2008.
Sime said that the application of Special Autonomy over the last 20 years has had no significant impact on the Papuan people. According to Sime, Special Autonomy was born out of political interests that are different from those of the Papuan people.
"Historically Special Autonomy was born because there were political demands which were different from the Papuan people themselves. And not because of the wishes of the Papuan people", he said. (thr/bmw)
[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Demo Papua di Tiga Kota Turut Suarakan Isu Palestina".]