Pembebasan slams repression against Papua students at G20 Summit in Bali

Pembebasan Statement – November 17, 2022
Police fire teargas at demonstrators in front of Cenderawasih University – November 16, 2022 (Tribune)

There has never been democracy for the Papuan people. Repression accompanied by violence has again been committed by security forces and reactionary ormas (mass or social organisation) against Papuan students in Bali.

On November 16 the Papua Student Alliance (AMP) was to hold a peaceful action as a form of opposition to the G20 Summit in Bali. Demonstrations against the G20 are something normal and have often been held in countries where the event is taking place.

In 2021, Italy was appointed as the host for a G20 meeting. Prior to and when the meeting was taking place, thousands of demonstrators filled the city streets of Rome to articulate the opposition to the G20 event. The actions were able to proceed peacefully and without repression. This has also been the case at previous meetings.

G20 meetings often attract opposition because of the discourse on market liberalisation it promotes. This discourse is no more than a band-aid for the capitalist crisis that haunts the world. The meetings have also been held in the midst of widespread calls by activist groups for global leaders to address the climate crisis.

This year the G20 Summit was held in Indonesia on the island of Bali. Unlike earlier years, the G20 event was marked by a series of efforts to silence social organisations opposing the meeting.

The repression against the AMP protestors had started since early morning when the demonstrators were heading to the location of the protest action, the US Consulate. They had only just left the student dormitory when they were immediately blocked by a joint force of police and ormas.

This was also accompanied by violence. The Papuan students were pelted with stones, bottles, wood and even shot at with catapults. In the end the demonstrators were forced to return to the student dormitory.

Following this the police and ormas besieged the boarding house and remained there until late afternoon. A number of the students suffered injuries in the earlier clash. These actions further demonstrates the decline in Indonesia's democratic index.

We from the Student Struggle Center for National Liberation (Pembebasan) strongly condemn the repressive actions of the police and ormas against the AMP in Bali as the actions of anti-democratic cowards. Along with this we make the following demands:

1. Stop curbing freedom of expression and opinion.

2. Investigate and try the perpetrators of the attack and violence against the AMP in Bali.

3. Provide the broadest possible democratic space to the Papuan people.

We also call on all pro-democracy social groups and movements to unite against any and all attempts to restrict democratic space.

Jakarta, November 17, 2022

Pembebasan Chairperson
Datu Gozali

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Pernyataan Sikap Mengutuk Represifitas Terhadap Mahasiswa Papua di Bali".]