Papua Annexation Day rally in Bali harassed, forcibly dispersed by police

Suara Papua – May 2, 2024
Papuan students face off against police in Denpasar, Bali – May 1, 2024 (SP)

Elisa Sekenyap, Jayapura – A peaceful demonstration by Papuan students in the Balinese provincial capital of Denpasar on Wednesday May 1 to commemorate the day Papua was annexed into the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia (NKRI) has been blocked and repressed by police.

Earlier, according to the notification letter submitted to police, the protesters planned to gather at the Renon Field eastern parking area then hold a long-march to the location of the action at the American Consulate in Denpasar.

The plan however was not realised because officers from the Bali regional police (Polda) and the Denpasar city municipal police (Polresta) rushed to intercept the protesters, who were then forced to disperse at exactly 12 noon.

Chronology of incident

Field coordinator Derimon Kepno said that the Papuan students had been gathering at the eastern parking area since 6.30 am after moving off from the Papua dormitory and several other locations in the city.

"At 8.50 am the protesters began a long-march towards the action point at the American Consulate in Denpasar. At 9.15 am they were intercepted and repressed by police."

"At that time we were hemmed in and forced to disperse. The live recording on Facebook was also suddenly cut, because the network was interrupted. The Bali Polda and Denpasar Polresta deployed around 480 personnel just to stop the mass action, but we also insisted on going to the American Consulate, because before the action we had already sent a letter notifying [police about] the action", explained Kepno.

At that moment, said Kepno, representatives from the Legal Aid Foundation (LBH) and Papua Student Alliance (AMP) met with the authorities to hold negotiations, but they reached a dead end and police remained determined to disperse the protesters.

"At 10.20 am the Bali LBH and AMP representatives negotiated with the police, but the police did not respond well and the police instead forbade the demonstrators from taking the protest to the action point at the American Consulate. Next we had a second negotiation but the authorities only gave us time for an action until 12 noon".

"At 11.15 am the crowd was surrounded and the space [allowed] for the action was isolated so in the end comrades decided to change the method of action. So they put up posters on the side of the road so that the public could see them, because previously we were isolated."

"Finally at 12.15 pm, comrades read out a statement. When we read out our statement, Brimob [paramilitary Mobile Brigade], Dalmas [crowd control unit] and a police water canon arrived at the location of the action. We knew that this was a way of upsetting our psychology, so we remained calm and read our statement", he concluded.

Papuan student's statement

AMP General Chairperson Jeeno Dogomo, as the person responsible for the action, said that Indonesia's position in the land of Papua over the last 61 years is illegal.

Dogomo said this started on May 1, 1963, because the United States, the United Nations, the Netherlands and Indonesia had an interest in the land of Papua. "The handover of West Papua to Indonesia was without the knowledge of the Papuan people, therefore we declare this illegal", asserted Dogomo.

He said that the annexation of the Papua region into the NKRI was carried out through a series of military operations in the context of thwarting the state of West Papua that was declared on December 1, 1961.

The declaration of the state of West Papua was organised by the representative political institution of the Papuan nation, namely Nieuw Guinea Raad (the New Guinea Council, NGR) with the approval of the Dutch royal government, which at that time occupied the Papua region in accordance with UN Resolution Number 1514.

However nineteen days later Indonesia's founding president Sukarno issued the Trikora (the Triple Commands of the People) declaration at the Yogyakarta Northern Square which called for: (1) Disbanding the Dutch-made puppet state (2) Raising the red-and-white flag throughout the Land of Papua and (3) A national mobilisation to seize West Irian (as Papua was then called).

"Today's situation is that the Papuan people are facing a situation of systematic and structured repression, intimidation and murder by the state after special autonomy was imposed in 2001. As a result, a prolonged conflict continues to occur where the TNI [Indonesian military] and Polri [national police] indiscriminately accuse civilians [of being separatists]", he said.

Therefore, said Dogomo, they reject Indonesia's presence in the land of Papua over the last 61 years and make the following demands.

  • For 61 years Indonesia's position in Papua has been illegal.
  • Fully investigate the perpetrators of the torture of three civilians in Puncak regency, Papua.
  • Audit Freeport's assets and provide severance pay to its workers.
  • Audit mine reserves and environmental damage.
  • Withdraw all organic and non-organic TNI and Polri from the land of West Papua.
  • Stop engineering conflicts throughout West Papua.
  • Provide access to foreign journalists and provide information throughout West Papua.
  • Investigate, arrest, prosecute and imprison human rights violators during Freeport McMoran's presence in West Papua.
  • Provide the right to self-determination a democratic solution for the West Papuan people.


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.

Operation Trikora was an Indonesian military operation aimed at harassing and forcing the Dutch out of Netherlands New Guinea (West Papua) in 1961-62 rather than one intended to suppress a nascent independence movement.

[Translated by James Balowski. Abridged slightly due to repetition. The original title of the article was "Aparat Hadang dan Represi Aksi Demo Damai Mahasiswa Papua di Bali".]