Agus Pabika, Jayapura – As many as 40 protesters opposing the extension of Papua special autonomy at the House of Representatives (DPR) building in Jakarta were arrested by police and taken away in two crowd control vehicles to the Metro Jaya regional police headquarters.
"Upon arriving at the detectives directorate the protesters were forced inside and intimidated by [threatening that they would be] forcibly vaccinated [against Covid-19]", Papuan Central Highlands Indonesian Student Association (AMPTPI) Secretary General Ambrosius Mulait told Suara Papua on Thursday July 15.
Mulait said that even though the action opposing the extension of special autonomy in front of the DPR was peaceful, police still showed a discriminatory attitude towards the demonstrators.
"Even though the action we were holding was peaceful and in accordance with health protocols. To convey our aspirations about what should be the important points for the Papuan people in the deliberations on the Otsus Law. But the Indonesian state through the police obstructed us, by means of provocation, forcibly breaking up [the rally] and arresting demonstrators", said Mulait.
Mulait said that the deliberations on the law were thug like in style by forcing through and enacting Otsus arbitrarily without accommodating the wishes of the ordinary Papuan people.
"We thought that the Otsus being deliberated was for the future of the Papuan people so why did it not facilitate any Papuan people in the deliberations, but the reality was different. Police used their power to force us to disperse", he said.
Mulait explained that a scuffle broke out with police when the demonstrators were being put into a crowd control vehicle and a plain clothed intelligence officer from the Metro Jaya regional police made racist remarks calling them monkeys.
"Meaning what? That Otsus is indeed a colonial product so what they are colonising [are a people] with no values or dignity, and because they heard the racist remarks our friends were involved in an exchange of words in response to the term monkey which was expressed by the intelligence officer", he asserted.
Papua special autonomy is a product of the racist face of Indonesia against the indigenous Papuan people.
"We reject Jakarta's products which do not guarantee benefits for the Papuan people. DPR, stop highjacking the Papuan people's future for the sake of the interests of a handful of Indonesian and Papuan elites", he said.
[Translated by James Balowski. Edited slightly for clarity. The original title of the article was "Demo Tolak Otsus di Gedung DPR RI, 40 Demonstran Diangkut ke Polda Metro Jaya".]