The Jakarta Post
National Police chief Gen. Sutarman emphasized he would take firm action against protesters who resort to 'anarchy', including those involved in a West Papua National Committee (KNPB) rally in Jayapura recently, which turned violent and left nine people injured.
'Members of the public are allowed to express their opinions according to the rules. Freedom of expression is protected in the law on public address and the National Police will uphold it. But citizens must follow a ruling that prohibits disruption of public order,' said Sutarman on Wednesday.
'Those who break the law or commit violence have to be punished. This includes those involved in the recent anarchy. They were also arrested for carrying illegal objects, such as traditional weapons,' said Sutarman on Wednesday during his visit to Papua.
During the rally, held by the KNPB in Jayapura on Tuesday, the local police arrested 28 protesters. As many as nine residents were wounded in the incident.
Besides violent protests, Sutarman also said that the police would crack down on groups that intended to separate from the unitary state of Indonesia, including by strictly enforcing a ban on flying the Morning Star (Bintang Kejora) separatist flag, which West Papuans often try to raise in a special ceremony each Dec. 1.
'The Bintang Kejora flag raising ceremony on Dec. 1 is forbidden, and those involved will be dealt with seriously,' he said.
Sutarman's visit to Papua and West Papua was his first to the province after being appointed as National Police chief by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono in October.
Before visiting the Papua Police headquarters in Jayapura, Sutarman, who was accompanied by the chief and deputy chief of the Papua Police, visited the Raja Ampat Police precinct in West Papua.
Meanwhile, the police are still investigating Tuesday's rally. 'Twenty-eight people will be questioned on the matter. One of the victims, named Syamsul Ma'arif, has undergone surgery after he was stabbed in the abdomen. His condition is improving,' said Jayapura City Police chief Adj. Sr. Comr. Alfred Papare.
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