11 arrested as stones fly in Manokwari protest
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Police clashed with protestors after a rally held by the West Papua National Committee (KNPB) in Manokwari, West Papua, turned violent.
Papua Police Spokesman Adj. Sr. Comr. I Gede Sumerta said tension surfaced when protestors started to attack police officers, who were safeguarding the rally, by hurling stones.
The clash between both sides became unavoidable as officers fired into the air to disperse protestors.
“We forcibly dispersed the rally and arrested 11 people for allegedly provoking the clash and stone-throwing,” said Sumerta on Tuesday.
Around 100 protestors initially intended to participate in a long march from Jl. Gunung Salju Amban to Borarsi Field at Manokwari, but they did not make it to the field as the police blockaded their way. They later ended up delivering some speeches in front of the Papua State University of Manokwari.
During the clash, two police officers were injured after angry protesters pelted them with stones. The injured officers were later taken to Manokwari Police clinic.
Sumerta said that he had yet to receive some reports on the victims from the KNPB side.
According to information gathered by The Jakarta Post, eight protestors reportedly suffered minor injuries. Four of them were shot, while the remaining protesters suffered minor injuries from the stone throwing.
“The injured residents were treated at Manokwari Hospital and sent home,” said Anis, a local
It was reported that the KNPB staged the rally as an expression of their support ahead of a meeting held in London, the UK.
However, Sumerta advised that there was no such meeting scheduled.
“We have checked with the Indonesia Embassy in London and a staff member confirmed that there was no meeting being held to discuss Papua,” Sumerta said.
Meanwhile, KNPB supporters in Jayapura aimed to stage a similar rally, but they failed to do so as the Jayapura Police blockaded their path, preventing protestors from reaching the city’s main streets.
Papua Police took extra precautions by deploying officers onto streets across the city.