Makassar – Scores of university and Papuan students held a demonstration in front of the Papua student dormitory on Jalan Lanto Daeng Pasewang in the South Sulawesi provincial capital of Makassar on the morning of Friday December 1.
Aside from calling for Papuan independence, the students studying in Makassar also called for support for Palestine.
"The Palestinian people have the right to struggle and resist the colonialists", read a poster brought by one of the Papuan students.
In addition to this, the Papua students also asked the Indonesian government to cut all unofficial diplomatic and political ties with Israel.
"Indonesia [must] cut all unofficial diplomatic, economic and political ties with Zionist Israel as well as Zionist bodies", read another poster.
Not only articulating support for Palestine, the demonstration, which was held to commemorate Papua's independence day that falls on December 1, also called for independence for the land of Papua.
"Provide the broadest possible access for journalists and access to information in Papua. Withdraw all organic and non-organic military from the land of Papua. Papua is not the red-and-white [Indonesia's national colours] but the Morning Star", said one of the students in a speech.
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 Makassar Suarakan Dukungan Untuk Palestina".]