Yufengki Bria, Kupang – A protest action by scores Papuan students in Kupang, East Nusa Tenggara, has ended in chaos. The students were attacked and assaulted by an ormas (social or mass organisation) then arrested by police.
The demonstration took place on Jalan Piet A Tallo on Friday December 1. The students held the action to commemorate the anniversary of Papua's declaration of independence.
In the middle of the protest action, the students were approached my members of the ormas Garda Flobamora and Garuda and were ordered to stop giving speeches. Chaos brought out until the Papuan demonstrators were arrested and taken to the municipal police (Polresta) headquarters.
"We're at Polresta for the moment. We were forcibly disbursed and assaulted by the ormas Garuda", said action coordinator Yerri Wali.
Wali explained that the arrests began when two people suspected of being intelligence officers arrived in a white vehicle at around 9.07 am to observe the demonstration.
Then at 9.15 am, around 50 people from the Garuda ormas arrived and an angry debate ensured that ended in an enraged assault on the protesters resulting in several demonstrators having their clothing torn.
In addition to this, one of the demonstrators named Ririn fell unconscious after being hit. Another protester, Jek, was also hit in the mouth resulting in a split lip. They were then taken to the Kupang municipal police headquarters.
"It was then that we were all injured and suffered bruises to the head, face and mouths", said Wali.
Kupang municipal police public relations chief Second Deputy Police Inspector Florensi Ibrahim Lapuisaly has confirmed the arrests, although he suggested contacting the Kupang municipal police headquarters directly.
"There was indeed information (about arrests) but I don’t' know how many were arrested. Because me and the Pak [head of] Kapolresta were still at a Friday Curhat activity in Oepura village", said Lapuisaly.
According to Detik Bali's observations at the Kupang municipal police headquarters, the protesters have not been released yet. Meanwhile the people from the Garuda Kupang ormas disbanded at 10.40 am. There has yet to be an official statement from Garuda on the incident.
Although it is widely held that West Papua declared independence from Indonesia on December 1, 1961, this actually marks the date when the Morning Star flag was first raised alongside the Dutch flag in an officially sanctioned ceremony in Jayapura, then called Hollandia. The first declaration of independence actually took place on July 1, 1971 when the Free Papua Organisation (OPM) unilaterally proclaimed West Papua as an independent democratic republic.
[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Demo Mahasiswa Papua di Kupang Ricuh, Dipukul Ormas-Ditangkap Polisi".]