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14 'arrested' before Papua rally in Yogyakarta

  • Bambang Muryanto
    Bambang Muryanto

    The Jakarta Post

Yogyakarta | Thu, December 1, 2016 | 08:02 pm
14 'arrested' before Papua rally in Yogyakarta Participants in a West Papua rally travel in a police truck along Jl. Imam Bonjol, Central Jakarta, on Thursday. Police arrested 10 people for possessing Free Papua Movement materials. (JP/Safrin La Batu)

Fourteen activists from the Indonesian People’s Front for West Papua (FRI-West Papua) were arrested on Thursday during a rally in Yogyakarta to commemorate West Papua’s so-called aborted independence day, which falls every Dec. 1.

“We were arrested when we were about to start the rally in the Abu Bakar Ali parking lot,” rally coordinator Sofyan Hidayat said on Thursday.

The rally, in which 20 people intended to participate, planned to move from the parking lot to Yogyakarta’s kilometer zero point, passing busy Jl. Malioboro.

“When we were arrested and told to get on a police truck, several of our friends were beaten by the police and injured on their mouths,” Sofyan said.

He said the rally aimed to support a referendum in Papua to exercise people’s right to self-determination.

Emanuel Gobay from the Yogyakarta Legal Aid Institute (LBH Yogyakarta), representing the rally participants, said that as the rally was about to start, a crowd of people identifying themselves as members of several groups — Paksi Katon, Pancasila Youth (PP) and the Communication Forum of Indonesian Veterans' Children (FKPPI) — along with police officers, besieged the rally participants.

The activists were taken to the Yogyakarta Police office. “We do not know the legal basis for the arrest,” Emanuel said.

He said the FRI-West Papua had sent a notification letter about the event a day earlier, but the police had rejected it.

Yogyakarta Police chief Adj. Sr. Comr. Tommy Wibisono said the 14 activists were not arrested but were “kept safe” to avoid altercations with members of other organizations. (evi)

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