Two nonviolent activists arrested for pleading for international community to ‘Save Papua from Genocide and Grievances’.

from the West Papua Media team

July 10, 2012

In recent months, West Papua has come under an international spotlight over Indonesian military and police impunity for brutal assaults on civilians and non-violent activists.   Despite the palpable repression on the Papuan street , activists from the self-declared Federated Republic of West Papua on July 10 held a peaceful demonstration in Jayapura,  with the theme, “Save Papua from Genocide and Grievances”.

Leading up to the demonstration, POLDA (Regional Police command) Papua refused to issue a permit to rally organizers, and even banned activists from the Federated Republic of West Papua to organize any peaceful demonstrations under threat of treason charges being leveled on rally organizers of peaceful demonstrations.

A coordinator of today’s rally, Sius Ayemi,  told West Papua Media prior to his arrest that police refused permission despite four rounds of intense negotiations and several letter, denying basic rights to freedom of expression.  In a phone conversation to the West Papua Media team, Ayemi has challenged the Indonesian government and its military regime to “reconsider military approaches in West Papua,” and called on the international community “to stop believing the Indonesian government’s rhetoric about its commitment to dialogue, or the (Indonesian) Republic’s effort to ‘wage peace aggressively’.”

The demonstration was to start at several different locations  - Expo Waena/UNCEN, Entrop/Hamadi /Argapura  and Pasir 2 / Dok 9 – at around 9:30am, then converging to meet at the DPRP (Papuan legislative assembly) office in Jayapura.   Police blockaded the demonstrators at the first two locations, preventing demonstrators from proceeding to the DPRP office.   However,  demonstrators from Pasir 2 and Dok 9 were able to march to the DPRP office but were quickly and brutally rounded up by one company of fully armed police.

Markus Yenu, the Federated Republic of West Papua Governor of Manokwari and a planned speaker at the rally, told West Papua Media that the police physically pushed the demonstrators backward with their guns and told them to go home.  He told the West Papua Media team by phone, “the moment we arrived in front of the DPRP office, we were threatened, searched and dispersed by police officers and requested harshly to hand-in all the attributes for the rally.” He further mentioned that the police confiscated several cameras, megaphones, mobile phones, placards and banners.

According to witnesses on the ground,  Sius Ayemi was attempting to negotiate with the police in a disciplined-manner but was quickly surrounded by few police officers who arrested him and bundled him away, together with Edison Kendi who stood next to Mr. Ayemi at the time of the arrest.  Until now, both Sius Ayemi and Edison Kendi are still being held at police custody in Jayapura.

West Papua Media attempted to make few phone calls to KAPOLDA Papua, KAPOLRI and WAKAPOLDA Papua but they all refused to comment about the arrest of the two activists and ended the call.

Local human rights sources have asked for advocacy for the release of Sius Ayemi and Edison Kendi, by calling the below contact details:

Kapolri +62811910277,                                                                                                                                       Kapolda +62811950376,                                                                                                                                 Wakapolda +62811496251

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