The Jakarta Post
Around 300 members of the Papuan Students Alliance in Surabaya, East Java, staged a protest on Saturday, nearly clashing with a separate group that appeared to be staging a counterprotest.
The students initially gathered in front of the RRI Studio on Jl. Pemuda. They displayed images of the Morning Star flag, the symbol of the separatist movement for Papuan independence, and demanded that Papuans be given the right to self-determination in the name of democracy.
The group held a march that was to head toward Grahadi State Building on Jl. Gubernur Suryo, but the police blocked access because there was a ceremony in the front yard of the building.
Tensions escalated when a group consisting of around 200 people from the Communication Forum of Indonesian Veterans' Children (FKPPI) and youth organization Pemuda Pancasila showed up to stage what appeared to be a counterprotest, resulting in the two groups yelling at each other.
The two groups attempted to attack each other, but the police prevented any physical altercations from breaking out.
FKPPI East Java deputy chairman Gatot Sutantra said that, by demanding an independent Papua, the Papuan Students Alliance was committed to a separatist movement.
“We reminded them to disperse, otherwise the police would disperse them,” Gatot said as quoted by tempo.co.
The police also gave a warning to the students, calling on them to disperse as they had no permit to stage the demonstration. (foy)