Sui Suadnyana, Denpasar – A protest action by the Bali City Committee Papua Student Alliance (AMP-KKB) and the Indonesian People's Front for West Papua (FRI-WP) in the Balinese provincial capital of Denpasar on Wednesday December 1 ended in a clash with a social organisation (ormas) called the Nusantara Garuda Patriots (PGN).
The AMP-KKB said that 12 of its members were injured during the clash. "Based on our data from the AMP there were 12 of our comrades (who suffered injuries). Some were kicked by the PGN, and then there were comrades who were hit by rocks", said AMP-KKB Chairperson Yesaya Gobay when contacted by Detik.com on Wednesday.
Gobay said that they had initially set the gathering point for the action as the Captain Ida Bagus Japa Monument in Denpasar. From this point they planned to march to the United States Consulate General for the protest.
It was during the march to the US Consulate that the protesters from the AMP-KKB and the FRI-WP were blocked by the PGN.
"It was right in the middle of the road that we were blocked by the PGN ormas. We were blocked, there were police there. We were blocked, so we said this isn't where we want to hold the action, we want to demonstrate at the American Consulate, but the ormas still wouldn’t listen, they continued blocking us", explained Gobay.
"But there were police there, except the police didn't secure the situation, they just looked on, they didn't secure the situation", he said.
Gobay said he regrets the police's lack of action in allowing the PNG to block the protesters from the AMP-KKB and FRI-WP. It was because the police took no action that in the end the PGN started throwing things at them.
Initially, the PGN just threw water bottles at the protesters. Then they started throwing rocks. Despite this, Gobay said that the Papuan protesters did not retaliate.
"(Despite having rocks thrown at us), we held our ground, we said we're students, we're intellectuals, we want to convey our aspirations, namely [marking] 60 years since the declaration of [Papuan] independence, we want to commemorate it. But not here, we want to rally at the American Consulate General. But they did not want to make way", he explained.
Despite their explanations, the PGN continued to throw things at the protesters from the AMP-KKB and the FRI-WP. In addition to this, a pickup truck brought by the protesters to the action was also targeted.
"Our pickup truck's windows were smashed, the car's door window was smashed. Our banners were damaged, several of the thrown rocks went into the crowd of protesters", he said.
Because of this, the AMP-KKB and FRI-WP protesters felt that they could no longer accept rocks continually being thrown at them and their pickup truck being damaged, so they then pick up instruments and counter attacked the PGN. (nvl/nvl)
[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "12 Mahasiswa Papua Terluka Saat Demo Berujung Ricuh dengan Ormas di Bali".]