Indonesia: hundreds of Papuans arrested over self-determination rally plan

Indonesian police and military troops arrested hundreds of Papuans on Monday in order to prevent them protesting in demand of the release of political prisoners and for the support of Asian, Caribbean and Pacific states self-determination. The arrests follow a series of non-violent protests organised by West Papuan activists.

More than 300 people were arrested, including 104 taken into custody after police searched a student dormitory in the Papua provincial capital Jayapura, and 38 people arrested during an action preparation meeting. Eyewitnesses also report at least two beatings of volunteers who were cooking food for the meeting.

The arrestees are members of National Committee for West Papua (KNPB): a organisation campaigning  for the right of self-determination in West Papua. Indonesian police said that the prisoners will be interrogated and then released: if the cops can’t find a  good enough reason to keep them in.

According to Human Rights Watch, in the past eight years, there were dozens of cases in which police, military and intelligence personnel and prison guards had used unnecessary or excessive force when dealing with Papuans exercising their right to peaceful assembly and association.


Photo: the view of an arrested KNPB member awaiting transport from inside an Indonesian police vehicle, via Free West Papua Campaign