West Papua rally participants arrested for carrying OPM paraphernalia: Police
Safrin La Batu
The Jakarta Post
The Jakarta Police arrested several participants of a rally on Thursday because the demonstrators were alleged to be in possession of paraphernalia related to the Free Papua Movement (OPM).
Ten were arrested in the peaceful rally, including rally coordinator Surya Anta, on Jl. Imam Bonjol, Central Jakarta on Thursday.
“They were apprehended because they carried Bintang Kejora [the OPM’s emblem] paraphernalia. We confiscated them because they are not this nation’s emblem,” said Adj. Sr. Comr. Hendy F Kurniawan, head of violent crimes unit at the Jakarta Police.
Hendy said none of the people arrested were named suspects and they would be released very soon after questioning.
(Read also: Group supports referendum for West Papua)
Around 100 people, mostly university students, participated in the rally calling for self-determination for West Papua. They walked from the Jakarta Legal Aid Institute (LBH) on Jl. Diponegoro in Central Jakarta to the Hotel Indonesia traffic circle, also in Central Jakarta.
The participants were, however, prevented from entering the traffic circle by security personnel who were stationed on Jl. Imam Bonjol to avoid disruption to the traffic.
A lawyer for the participants, Veronica Koman, said plainclothes policemen attacked some of the participants as they tried to penetrate the police’s blockade. (jun)