Jakarta – Scores of Papuan activists held a protest action in front of the Army Strategic Reserves Command (Green Berets) headquarters in Gambir, Central Jakarta, on Monday March 7. They demanded that President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo withdraw military troops from Papua.
The protesters, who came from the Pro-Democracy Alliance and the Greater Jakarta Papua Student Alliance (IMAPA), accused the military in Papua of mistreating a primary school child for allegedly stealing a firearm resulting in the child's death.
"[We] demand that the president immediately withdraw the military from the land of Papua", said one of the speakers in front of the Kostrad building on Monday.
"The primary school kid's didn't know it was a firearm. They didn't know it was theft", he said.
In an official release, the group also said that joint TNI (Indonesian military) and Polri (Indonesian police) operations following the fatal shooting of Papua regional National Intelligence Agency (BIN) chief Gusti Putu Danny in April last year have resulted in civilian casualties.
They said that the security forces have set fire to residents' homes and committed violence against local people. As a consequence, residents have chosen to flee their homes in order to save themselves.
"To the president, immediately withdraw the military in the land of Papua", called the speaker. "Jokowi is responsible for the oppression in Papua", they said.
Earlier on Sunday February 20, a class 4 primary school student with the initials MT died after being allegedly mistreated by security personnel in the Sinak sub-district of Puncak regency, Papua.
Based on information received from Amnesty International Indonesia, the incident began when MT and six other children were arrested for allegedly stealing a firearm belonging to a TNI member in Sinak.
"Based on local media reports on February 26, two youth allegedly took a firearm belonging to a TNI member in the vicinity of the Tapulinik Sinak Airport, Puncak regency, Papua, on the evening of February 20", read a tweet on the Twitter account @amnestyindo on Monday February 28.
[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Aktivis Papua Demo di Depan Markas Kostrad, Desak Jokowi Tarik Militer".]