Jayapura – The commemoration of International Human Rights Day on December 10 was marked by protest actions across Papua. In many places rallies had only just began when police disbursed the actions. Scores of people were arrested and detained at local police stations.
Based on information gathered by Suara Papua from a number of sources, at least 85 people were arrested by police in various parts of Papua when they tried to commemorate 74 years since the United Nations proclamation and adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on December 10, 1948, with peaceful actions
The forced dispersal of protesters and mass arrests occurred in Sentani, Jayapura regency, Wamena, Jayawijaya regency and Abepura and Waena in Jayapura city. According to West Papua National Committee (KNPB) spokesperson Ones Suhuniap, police arrested as many as 108 people.
"Earlier as many as 108 people were arrested. First in Wamena there were 30 people. Then in Sentani 51 people and in Jayapura city there were four people", he said on Saturday when sought for confirmation by Suara Papua via WhatsApp.
Quoting from reports from the field, Suhuniap said that forced dispersals, arrests and the assault of peaceful demonstrators occurred in several cities in Papua.
"Peaceful actions commemorating International Human Rights Day were held in nine Papua cities, including Jayapura city, Jayapura regency in Sentani, the Star Highlands regency in Oksibil, Jayawijaya regency in Wamena, Tolikara regency, Lanny Jaya regency, Manokwari and Sorong", he said.
Outside of Papua, Suhuniap explained that peaceful actions were held by Papuan students that centred on Indonesian consulates in Manado and Gorontalo.
A peaceful action in Sentani, Jayapura regency, began at 6.15 am at the Sentani Post 7 intersection.
"At 7.30 pm local time, police from the Jayapura Polres [district police] approached them and the protesters were forcibly disbursed. Several demonstrators were assaulted. Arrests also took place. 51 people were arrested", he explained.
Suhuniap confirmed that the action was facilitated by the Sentani regional branch of the KNPB to commemorate International Human Rights Day and at the same time to urge the Indonesian government to settle cases of human rights violations in Papua and demand that a referendum be held as a democratic solution.
Out of the 51 people arrest by police at the Sentani Post 7 intersection, five suffered injuries.
"The names of the injured are Agustina Darla Kobak (head injuries), Zeth (head injuries), Insu Ina Su (arm injury), Nodi Tepmul (hand injury) and Frangki Kogoya (hand injury)”, he said.
Meanwhile the names of people who were arrested by the Jayapura district police are Agus Bahabol (liaison officer), Sadrack Lagowan (field coordinator), Demi Tabuni, Silis Uopdana, Nando, Agn, Malis Uopkulir, Dortius Tenget, Saugas Lokon, Oktovianus Wakel, Betok Uropmabin, Eleck Tepmul, Gaulin Balingga, Inzu Ina Su, Frengky Kogoya, Menis Siep, Agustina Darla Kobak, Yosua, Yopina Pahabol, Ance Yoku, Milka, Hinus Siep, Ektam Kalakmabin, Melly Tepmul, Kurus DM Felle, Oviana Kha Websa, Meksi Taplo, Eiko Taplo, Yan Itlay, Imer Matuan, Elison Pahabol, Eco Passe, Bella Wesapia, Berto Taplo, Gerry Matuan, Steven Tengket (Wakorlap), Mario Kassar, Miles Itlay, Fehri Molama, Elli Sugun, Man Waker and Charles Kogoya.
"We have yet to get data on 10 other people", said Suhuniap. "The protesters who were arrested have already been taken to the Jayapura Polres in Doyo", he continued.
The police also confiscated protest materials such as a billboard, megaphone, pamphlets, a command rope and seven KNPB flags. In addition to this, a cellphone belonging to Sadrack Lagowan was also seized.
The forced dispersal of actions and mass arrests also occurred in Wamena, the capital of Jayawijaya regency. Aside from a gathering point at the Wouma Mission Market, police also dispersed protesters at the Jibama Market. It was reported that 30 people were taken to the Jayawijaya Polres.
"At the Wouma Mission Market 12 were arrested, from the Jibama Market 13 people, and from the Potikelek [Market] 5 people were arrested and taken to the Jayawijaya Polres", he explained.
The protesters who were arrested at the Wouma Mission Market were Nopius Asso, Jhon Iksomon, Nahason Pahabol, Niel Asso, Wene Kabak, Niris Pahabol, Abet Kabak, Tolak Asso, Nikon Kabak, Wei, Sini Ulunggi and Alimos Pahabol.
And from the Jibama Market Othen Gombo, Mau Iaba, Wilem Kenelak, Ima Alya, Pokemon Wantik, Masongan Endambia, Fakalis Kisa, Yalince Wandikbo, Lidia Wandikbo, Yos Logo, Yosael Gombo, Aten Jaga and Junani Sibak.
Meanwhile those arrested at the Potikelek were Erik Aliknoe, Wenealem Y Kabak, Aten Asso, Lani Yikwa and Rosyan Zine Kogoya.
"All of them are KNPB members", said Suhuniap, adding that 25 of them are currently being questioned.
Prior to being disbursed by police, Suhuniap received a report that demonstrators had begun to move off from several different points at 8 am. Aside from those arrested, protesters at other gathering points were blockaded by police.
"Meanwhile the demonstrators from Sinakma that moved off at 9.56 pm succeeded in holding a long-march to the Jayawijaya DPRD [Regional House of Representatives], but the front gate was closed. They sat in front of the DPRD offices on Jalan Yos Sudarso Wamena", he said.
A commemoration of International Human Rights Day by the Greater Jayapura Student Executive Council (BEM) Alliance at the Cendrawasih University (Uncen) campus in Abepura was also dispersed by police.
An action by students in front of the Uncen Auditorium was blocked and several students were arrested by the Jayapura municipal police (Polresta). The names of those who were detained are Engel AP You, Tayai Kotopa Keiya, Olison Pakage, Iso Pekei and Yosep Douw.
According to a report Suhuniap received from field coordinator Fransiskus Yobee, several of the students were treated roughly and even injured.
Seven people were assaulted, namely Nando Boma (struck in the head), Okto Mote (swollen backbone, injured finger), Yoten Mirin (hand injury), Hendrik Muyapa (hand injury, cellphone confiscated), Yabet Degei (swollen back, torn shoulder), X Dogomo (ear injury) and Olison Pakage (bleeding from the head).
Meanwhile a peaceful student action at the Waena State Housing Company III on the Uncen campus was also dispersed by police. After being dispersed, the students moved off to the State Housing Company I to join up with demonstrators from the Waena Expo.
Once again police blockaded the protesters and broke up the rally on the Waena Expo Bridge.
Protesters from Waena Expo, Buper and nearby areas who gathered at the Papua Museum at 9.30 am until 10.30 am were also dispersed. Others who gathered at the Abepura traffic circle suffered the same fate.
At 1 pm protesters from the Jayapura University of Science and Technology (USTJ) and the lower Uncen campus headed off towards the Mimi Dormitory. Demonstrators who had been dispersed at the Abepura traffic circle also joined them.
Gathering at the Mimi Dormitory volley ball field, the protester gave speeches and read out a statement.
Manokwari and Sorong
In Manokwari, a peaceful action starting at 9 am and intending to commemorate Human Rights Day at the West Papua DPRD was blockaded by police from the Manokwari Polres and the Amban sectoral police (Polsek). Rallies in Amban as well as other points were blockaded since morning.
In Sorong, protesters planned to hold a peaceful action in front of the Ellin Maranata. But police were on alert at the location from 7 pm even before the demonstrators had arrived.
Despite this, protesters from the KNPB still unfurled banners, handed out pamphlets and put up two KNPB flags. Starting with prayers, they took turns giving speeches between 9 pm and 10 pm.
Police then tried to halt the action because it had exceeded the time limit. On several occasions KNPB leaders, led by Dengky Pagawak, tried to negotiate with police saying they had already submitted a written notification of the planned action.
The planned long-march to the DPRD offices however was canceled after police refused permission. They were then given two minutes to disperse.
In order to avoid the possibility of something bad happening, the action was ended after police moved in to remove the command rope and seize pamphlets, banners and the KNPB flag.
They were unable to hold their ground because of the number of armed troops and the protesters disbanded peacefully. "The protest action was forcibly broken up at around 10.58 am local time”, said Suhuniap.
Rallies in four regencies proceed smoothly
Commemorations held in four other regencies, Lanny Jaya, Tolikara, Pegunungan Bintang and Paniai however proceeded smoothly.
In the Lanny Jaya regional capital of Tiom a commemoration was held in front of the Nirigi Hotel. Protesters had been arriving from the districts and heading towards the central gathering point since 8 am.
Although the action was initially blocked by police, in the end all of the demonstrators were able to gather by 1.10 pm. They then took turns in giving speeches and the action ended peacefully with the reading out of a statement.
A similar action was held in the Tolikara regency capital of Karubaga. The commemoration of Human Rights Day began at 9.46 am and in general proceeded safely and smoothly.
Likewise in Oksibil, the capital of Pegunungan Bintang regency, where hundreds of people commemorated Human Rights Day from 9 am until the rally finished.
In Paniai regency, an action centred on Karel Gobay Square in Enarotali was attended by people from several districts that came to take part in the free speech forum. The action was closely watched over by police from the Paniai Polres.
[Slightly abridged translation by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Aksi Peringati Hari HAM di Papua Dibubarkan Paksa, Ratusan Orang Diamankan".]