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Jakarta Post

Insight: Youth at forefront of Papuan protests: Don't ignore them

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Jakarta   /   Wed, September 4, 2019   /  09:27 am
Insight: Youth at forefront of Papuan protests: Don't ignore them The aggrieved: Escorted by military personnel and police officers, Papuans demonstrate in front of the Presidential Palace in Central Jakarta. Protesters called on the government to take seriously cases of physical and racial abuse against Papuan students by security personnel in Surabaya, East Java. (JP/Seto Wardhana)

For the first time in Indonesian history, the Bintang Kejora (Morning Star) flag as the symbol of Papuan culture and identity was recently flown outside of Papua, including in Jakarta. A group of Papuan students waved the flag while rallying near the State Palace. Similar events took place in the Central Java cities of Semarang and Salatiga, Yogyakarta and Kupang in East Nusa Tenggara. While chanting “freedom”, Papuan students condemned racial slurs directed at them by individuals and organizations in Malang and Surabaya, East Java, on Aug. 15 and 16. After years of enduring an intimidating environment, the Papuan students found their “Papuan moment” in rallies on Aug. 19 to 29 to display their political aspirations right in the capital. While many have focused on racial prejudice, few have highlighted the role of Papuan youth in protesting long runnin...

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