48 arrested, one shot after police break up rally in Papua’s Yahukimo regency

Suara Papua – August 16, 2021
Ferianus Asso being treated for gunshot wound in hospital – August 16, 2021 (Suara Papua)

Arnold Belau, Jayapura – The Yahukimo West Papua National Committee (KNPB) says that police forcibly broke up a peaceful protest action on Monday August 16 arresting scores of people and shooting one person in the Dekai district of Yahukimo regency, Papua.

Field coordinator Ruben Wakla revealed that at 8 am police arrested 48 people although 44 of them were allowed to return home at 11 am.

"Out of the 48 people who were arrested, 44 people were allowed to go home while four are still being held by the Yahukimo district police. Those still being held are Anton Hubusa, Lasarus Heluka, Afen Sambon and Feredy Heluka", Wakla told Suara Papua from Yahukimo on Monday.

Wakla also reported that in addition to the arrest of the 48 people who were taken to the Yahukimo district police, police also shot a youth who has been rushed to the Yahukimo hospital for treatment.

"The victim who was shot by police is named Ferianus Asso (29). He is in hospital and receiving treatment from medics", explained Wakla.

Aside from the demonstration in Yahukimo, protests were also held in Jayapura city and in Malang and Surabaya in East Java.

The main demand of today's demonstrations was urging the Indonesian state to release Papua activist Victor Yeimo, opposing racism against the Papuan people and rejecting the extension of Special Autonomy for Papua.

The action was organised by the Papua People's Petition (PRP) which has the support of hundreds of organisations and was signed by some 700,000 ordinary Papuans.

The PRP was formed with the aim of providing a vehicle for the Papuan people to oppose Jakarta's unilateral policy of extending special autonomy for Papua and West Papua provinces.

Chronology of the Yahukimo action

Wakla explained the chronology of what happened in Yahukimo. Protesters first gathered at two points in Pemukiman and the Ruko Kota Dekai traffic intersection.

The militant KNPB activists had already gathered at 6 am and gave speeches until 7.15 am while they waited for the other protesters to arrive.

Before security forces arrived at the gathering points, the KNPB media team had taken photographs at the gathering points at 7.36 am and 7.50 am.

TNI (Indonesian military) and Polri (Indonesian police) arrived at the gathering points at 8.09 am. They then took all of the participants – some 48 people – to the district police headquarters (Polres).

Upon arriving at the district police headquarters each of the 48 were examined and questioned.

"Noken [woven bags], bracelets, necklaces and mobile phones belonging to the protesters were confiscated and are still being held by police. In addition to this the police also detained four people. Forty-four others meanwhile were released at 11.05 am. The confiscated belongings and four people are still being held at the Yahukimo Polres", explained Wakla.

No democracy in Papua

When contacted by Suara Papua from Jayapura, KNPB spokesperson Ones Suhun confirmed that the protests were forcibly broken up, the arrest of 48 people and the shooting of one person.

"There are four people who are still being detained. [Forty-four] have already been allowed to go home. On the shooting that's true. I myself went to the hospital emergency ward and saw his condition. I saw that his condition was critical. Perhaps the bullet is still lodged in his body but the medics are currently trying to remove the bullet from the victim's body", explained Suhun from Yahukimo at 3.14 pm.

Suhun said that the peaceful demonstrations in Jayapura and Yahukimo had the same goals, namely calling on the state to release KNPB international spokesperson Victor Yeimo, to give the right of self-determination to the West Papuan nation and opposing the extension of special autonomy for Papua.

Suhun believes that the security forces are continuing to use of repression against the Papuan people and this shows that Indonesia is colonising Papua.

Moreover, he explained, Indonesia's slogan as a democratic country is an empty one without meaning. In practice Indonesia is not a democracy but rather, the military holds full control, particularly in Papua.

"That Indonesia is a democratic country is not true. In Papua the face of Indonesia is shown through the authorities [behaviour] towards the people of the West Papua nation, which is as colonialists. Indonesia is carrying out an occupation", he asserted.

Suhun continued saying that democratic values are not applied in Papua and that the Papuan people together with the KNPB will continue to educate Indonesia on how to apply true democracy.

"We consistently convey our aspirations through dignified means. We are educating Indonesia on the way to apply true democracy", he asserted.

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Bubarkan Demonstran, Aparat Tembak Satu Orang dan Tangkap 4 Orang di Yahukimo".]

Source: https://suarapapua.com/2021/08/16/bubarkan-demonstran-aparat-tembak-satu-orang-dan-tangkap-4-orang-di-yahukimo/