May Day rally by Papuan students in Makassar broken up by police, 5 arrested

CNN Indonesia – May 1, 2023
Papuan students commemorate May Day in Makassar – May 1, 2023 (CNN)

Makassar – A demonstration commemorating International Labour Day on May 1 by a group of Papuan students from the Democratic Struggle Alliance has been broken up by police. Five people were arrested because they were suspected of being provocateurs.

During the protest action, which was held on Jalan AP Pettarani in the South Sulawesi provincial capital of Makassar, the scores of demonstrators unfurled a banner with the message "Revoke the Ciptaker [Job Creation] Law, Golput [boycott] the 2024 elections and build a political alternative".

However because the protesters we considered not to have informed the police of the action beforehand, it was immediately broken up.

"They held (the action) without a notification. Then of course we asked them to disperse in a persuasive manner. There were five people that were arrested", said Makassar metropolitan district police chief Senior Commissioner Mokhamad Ngajib on Monday May 1.

Ngajib accused the five who were arrested of being part of a group that caused a riot.

"There were several that we took away but not from their group. There were clearly several anarchists that we proved spray painted graffiti (on a wall). They were the ones we arrested", he explained.

The five were immediately taken to the Makassar metropolitan district police headquarters for further questioning.

"Later we will see from the results of the examination, of course if there is a crime we will immediately take firm action against the anarchists", he said.

However, said Ngajib, they are currently still conducting an investigation and collecting evidence.

"Up until now there has been no (crime), we will check first. We just secured several people earlier who we reasonably suspect of being anarchists, because they were not part of the group of our sisters and brothers from Papua", he said. (mir/pmg)

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Aksi Hari Buruh di Makassar Dibubarkan Polisi, 5 Orang Ditangkap".]