May Day in Bali marred by clash between Papuan students and nationalist groups

JPNN Bali – May 1, 2023
Protesters from AMP Bali commemorating May Day in Denpasar – May 1, 2023 (Instagram)

Ali Mustofa, Denpasar – An International Labour Day demonstration in the Balinese provincial capital of Denpasar, which fell on Monday May 1, ended in chaos after a clash between Papuan students and several social organisations.

The demonstration today was not only joined by labour groups, but also the Bali Papua Student Alliance (AMP). The Papuan students had planned to hold a protest action at the Hang Tuah Renon traffic circle at 9 am.

But the arrival of the AMP protesters had no relationship with Labour Day. They took to the streets to commemorate 60 years since the forced incorporation of the West Papua nation into the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia (NKRI).

Moreover it is said that the annexation on May 1, 1963, was illegal and legally flawed. During the action, the AMP Bali demanded independence for the West Papuan nation.

However the 30 or so AMP protesters were intercepted at the East Renon parking area by several ormas (social or mass organisations) such as the Nusantara Garuda Patriots (PGN), the PGN Melanesia, the Sandi Murti College, the Bali Kolonk Children and the Bali for the sake of the Generations Children (DAG).

A confrontation between the groups broke out in front of the Denpasar city Regional Disaster Relief Agency (BPBD) offices, with the groups exchanging blows with each other.

Fortunately police officers from the Denpasar municipal police assisted by the TNI (Indonesian military) and Public Order Agency (Satpol PP) officers were able to bring the situation under control and separated the groups involved in the clash.

"The PGN along with all Balinese social organisations and the traditional village council is ready to uphold the sovereignty of the NKRI from groups that disturb security, peace and order such as the AMP", said PGN Bali Chairperson Daniar Tri Sasongko in an official statement.

According to Sasongko, this had to be done because the AMP opposes the concept of the NKRI.

"In the framework of national defense actions mandated by Article 28 of the 1945 Constitution, the PGN Bali firmly opposes AMP demonstrations that undermine the sovereignty of the NKRI", said Sasongko.

Sandi Murti College Deputy Chairperson Ngurah Harta said they were ready to stop actions by the AMP. "Whatever it is, if it disturbs Indonesia's peace, we will take to the streets", he said.

Harta also asked the police to take immediate action by arresting the AMP protesters because they have clearly tried to undermine the NKRI. (lia/JPNN)

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Hari Buruh di Bali Ricuh, Massa AMP dan PGN Bentrok, Polisi Bergerak".]