Category Archives: Video

Thousands of students rally to reject Otsus Plus and provincial division

By West Papua Media editors, with local stringers

November 5, 2013

Thousands of Papuan university and high school students led demonstrations in Jayapura on November 4, firmly rejecting attempts by Jakarta to impose the revived “new, improved” version of the failed Special Autonomy package, named “Otsus Plus”.

A coalition of student organizations, collectively known as ‘Students, Youth and People’s Movement’ (Gerakan Mahasiswa, Pemuda dan Rakyat Papua (GempaR Papua) –  the acronym GempaR literally translates as “Unarmed Insurrection” or “Uproar”), also called the actions to reject Jakarta’s latest plans to divide Papua into 33 districts and three further provinces.  The movement has been started by students from seven different high schools, technical colleges and universities in Jayapura, including Cenderawasih University, UMEL MANDIRI, STIKOM, STT GKI I.S.KIJNE and the opposition to the imposition of Special Autonomy Plus.  The rally was subject to several threats of violence from Indonesian security forces, who routinely deem all gatherings on peaceful Papuan aspirations as subversive and treasonous, according to rally sources.

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The planned administrative divisions of Papuan land and districts under Otsus Plus have been widely interpreted as a colonial act by most Papuan civil society groups, according to Papuan observers, and seen as a covert method of further increasing the massive militarisation of Papua.  Each new district automatically gains its own military and policy company (150 men for each), and each further province each gains their own battalions of Military (1500 men) and Police (1200 men), further adding to the estimated 45,000 troops in Papua, the most militarised area under Indonesian occupation.

“Special Autonomy ‘Plus’ will not change (the mind of) Papuans.  Special Autonomy Plus is not a solution for indigenous Papuans. We firmly reject the plan for Autonomy Plus in Papua and West Papua, we reject it, Autonomy Plus and the New Re-districting are the same (still) killing Papuan people, not the solution to prosperity ” said Hendrik Koroto, Demonstration Coordinator and student at the Faculty of Engineering.

As is standard with any demonstration in Papua, the Indonesian police attempted at least twice to violently prevent the students from peacefully continuing on the march, shadowing the gathering with several hundred heavily armed security personnel.  The notoriously hardline Jayapura Deputy Police Chief Kiki Kurnia, again confronted the marchers in an effort to disperse them, threatening the use of heavy force on the students with a display of hardware including heavily armed police, water cannon and Barrucuda armoured assault vehicles. Intense negotiations took place for almost 15-20 minutes between organisers and Senior Police However, Jayapura Police Chief Alfred Papare agreed to allow marchers to continue their march using one lane to allow traffic to pass.

Whilst one group was negotiating with police, a large number of students unexpectedly took to the road, and several waves of students began to march on the Governor’s office, holding hands and neighbours with a tight protective formation.    Police dragged barbed wire in front of the Governor’s office and blocked the main entrance with 5 police trucks, and several other vehicles, The student and civil society gathering then occupied the forecourt of the Governor’s office for over two hours, during which time Governor Enembe agreed to meet a delegation from the student representatives.  No arrests were reported but threats were allegedly made against keynote speakers and rally organisers, according to witnesses who spoke with West Papua Media stringers.

WestPapuaMedia

 

Indonesian Police surveille activists during the Papuan Cultural Parade, August 15, 2013

Mixed success for Papuan Cultural parades despite pre-emptive arrests across Papua

Special Wrap-up report by West Papua Media, with local sources.

(Apologies for delay in posting as WPM was chasing hi-res photo essays from outlying regions.  This will be a separate item as soon as we get hold of them.)

August 26, 2013

Scores of non-violent activists from the West Papua National Committee (KNPB) were arrested across Papua over the last two weeks, when Indonesian Police carried out pre-emptive sweeps ahead of a day of mobilisation on August 15, a day intended to celebrate Papuan cultural identity and demand rights to free expression be respected.

Organisers across Papua claimed varying degrees of success in holding the cultural parades, hailing the assertion of Papuan cultural identity in the face of a “deliberate campaign of cultural suppression by the Indonesian colonial security forces” as a “moral victory that would show that West Papuan people are not going to die quietly,”  according to sources who spoke with West Papua Media (WPM).

The parades were organised by West Papuan activists on the anniversary of the contentious New York Agreement – that began the process of Indonesian colonisation of Papua – to demonstrate against ongoing the threats to the survival of Papuan culture.  The parades  were also celebrating the opening of the new Free West Papua Campaign office in The Hague in The Netherlands under the coordination of Oridek Ap (the exiled son of executed West Papuan musician and cultural hero Arnold Ap).

Despite Police being widely reported by Indonesian colonial media stating they would allow the parades to go ahead, activists and stringers for WPM reported from across the country of waves of arrests – or detentions as described by Indonesian security forces – and intimidation that prevented several of the parades from occurring.

Nevertheless, the events went ahead in Jayapura, Wamena and Biak, with  much smaller gatherings unconfirmed across the rest of the country.

Papuans villagers  arrested and searched, detained in Aula Fakfak Police for interrogation (photo: Alex Tethool / Jubi / Fakfak)
Papuans villagers arrested and searched, detained in Aula Fakfak Police for interrogation (photo: Alex Tethool / Jubi / Fakfak)

In the west coast town of FakFak, police arrested several dozen people on August 13, according to reports from Tabloid Jubi, and human rights sources.   Jubi reported that officers intercepted two trucks carrying dozens of villagers as they were preparing to attend the Cultural Parade on the 15th.  Police commandeered the trucks to  the police headquarters in Fakfak, detaining and interrogating the villagers – including large numbers of women and children -  in the Police Hall.  Police refused to explain their actions to Papuan media, according to local observers.  Unconfirmed reports from Fakfak say the majority of villagers were released, but the date of their release, or the ability for them to continue their participation in the cultural parades is still unknown.

Jayapura

In Jayapura, KNPB Chairman Agus Kosai was arrested by Police as he and other KNPB members attempted to move a sound system from his village near Sentani (about 12km outside Jayapura) to the gravesite of slain independence hero Theys Eluay in Waena.  KNPB treasurer Toni Kobak and National Spokesperson Wim Medlama were also arrested with 13 other KNPB members.  Police interrogated them but later released them, ordering them home after seizing their banners and equipment.

Refusing to be intimidated, the released KNPB members then ignored the Police directive, made new rally materials and proceeded with the planned Cultural Parades regardless in Jayapura.

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Thousands of local people turned out in Jayapura to showcase Papua’s vibrant indigenous cultural diversity, reflecting and representing Papuan cultures from every corner of the country.   The day itself had been planned as a deeply symbolic act of cultural resistance through survival, drawing on the actions of slain ethnomusicologist Arnold Ap in a nonviolent assertion of Papuan sovereignty resisting  Indonesian colonisation and control of Papuan lives.

Indonesian Police surveille activists during the Papuan Cultural Parade, August 15, 2013
Indonesian Police surveille activists during the Papuan Cultural Parade, Jayapura, August 15, 2013 (Photo: West Papua Media / YS)

Illustrating this attempt at control, many acts of cultural expression such as banned dances, banned songs, and banned displays of cultural heritage were actively monitored by heavily armed Indonesian Police, however the sheer number of participants prevented further arrests.

Coordinator of the Peace Demonstration Warpo Sampari Wetipo, told the crowd from a stage mounted atop a Kijang car, “we in KNPB are standing with the people of Papua, despite the Indonesian military’s terror by prohibiting any peaceful demonstration and action, we do continue to fight without fear, to demand the right of self-determination for us, the people of West Papua.”

Buchtar Tabuni, West Papua Parliament Chairman, and revolving door political prisoner currently between arrests, reminded the crowd that they were gathered to “Declare to the world that the people of Papua are demanding the recognition of their right of self-determination with fairness and dignity.”  By demonstrating their cultural resistance, Tabuni said that West Papuan people were asserting their identity “as a community of the Melanesian family, that Papuans are not part of the people of Indonesia or Malay.”

Reports from the Jayapura rally suggested that police were initially prepared to utilise force against the participants after they defied the order to go home.  Significant military hardware was deployed, with security forces surrounding the thousands of people gathered at Theys’ gravesite with Armoured personnel carriers, water cannon, tear gas trucks and several Barracuda armoured assault vehicles.

According to reports filed to WPM, activists had prepared unspecified “unique” methods of non-violent de-arresting techniques should the need arise, though it is unclear whether the Indonesian security forces were prepared to respect the nonviolence of the day.

The rally had been tightly safeguarded by KNPB members, who kept the participants separated from security forces and plain clothes special forces personnel with a simple rope line, thus preventing any agents provocateur from provoking police to create a scenario of violence.  in Papua.   Buchtar Tabuni told the crowd at the end of the rally, “the security forces to help secure us, and also I just want to explain that from yesterday until last night we kept guard patrol, to keep track of things that we do not want to happen and also it helps security deposit until the day’s activities, “

In Wamena, KNPB activists reported that police and members of the Indonesian army were also being proactive in prevention of the parades, with banner seizures and an active show of force.  According to local sources, almost the entire KODIM 756 Wim Ane Sili (lit. “House of the Sound of War” in Dani language) Battalion (up to 1000 soldiers) surround the protest field at Sinapuk,

This massive “show force” was responsible for thousands of people being forced to stay away from the Cultural gathering, according to KNPB Wamena spokesperson Mr Mabel.  The gathering was peaceful but was only attended by several hundred people.

In Biak, local members of the KNPB organised a smaller demonstration passing the site of the infamous Biak Massacre, which recently commemorated its 15th anniversary on July 6.  Hundreds of people marched from the old market and Terminal Pasar Darfuar ending up at a traditional meeting house (pendopo adat Sorido), to support the opening of The Hague Free West Papua office.  Apollos Sroyer, Biak KNPB Chairman, told WPM’s correspondent “The parade was also planned as an expression of welcome to the arrival of messengers from the Melanesian Spearhead Groups (MSG) in the near future to West Papua.”

Sroyer also expressed “gratitude to those MSG members who have expressed their support of the right of self-determination of the people of West Papua,” without mentioning the official rejection of the bid for Observer Status for West Papua by the MSG, widely seen as a betrayal of Melanesian solidarity by many across the Pacific.

WestPapuaMedia, with local sources

Timika Six plead for international intervention after sentence passed despite unproven case

by West Papua Media, with Oktovianus Pogau at SuaraPapua.com

April 18, 2013

Six West Papua National Committee (KNPB) activists from Timika were each sentenced to one year in prison on Tuesday by judges from the Assembly District Court in a trial deemed as opaque and farcical by observers.  Sentenced on charges of carrying dangerous weapons and makar (treason/subversion), defence lawyers insisted that the six non-violent activists had no case proven against them and will immediately be lodging an appeal.

The KNPB Timika 6 back in their cells, photo taken April 17, after trial hearing. From L-R, (photo KNPB/ West Papua Media)
The KNPB Timika 6 back in their cells, photo taken April 17, after trial hearing. (photo KNPB/ West Papua Media)

The six, Romario Yatipai, Steven Itlay, Yakonias Womsiwor, Paulus Marsyom, Alfred Marsyom and Yanto Awerkion, were arrested on October 24, 2012, amidst a spate of high publicity arrests of KNPB activists by the Australian-funded counter-terror unit Detachment 88.  The then-incoming Papua Police Chief, former Detachment 88 chief Tito Karnavian,  exploited the brutal arrests to increase justification for use of Detachment 88 against political activists at a time when OTK (unknown persons, now known as Orang Terlatih Khusus or Specially Trained Persons) killings were spiralling out of control across Papua.

Despite Jakarta pinning the blame for the killings on non-violent activists from the

KNPB Timika Activist  Romario Yatipai
KNPB Timika Activist Romario Yatipai

KNPB, no credible evidence had been able to prove KNPB responsibility despite highly politicised and farcical trial processes.  Most independent observers have linked responsibility for OTK incidents in Papua squarely in the hands of agents of the Indonesian special forces.

In SMS and email communications to West Papua Media from the prison before and after the trial, KNPB activist and detainee spokesman Romario Yatipai said that the assertions made by police were “Simply lies”.

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“We are KNPB activist in Timika, West Papua. Indonesia Police jailed us with no reason.” – Romario Yatipai

“Indonesian police say that KNPB activist are criminals, terrorists, Makar (treason), separatist and so on,” Yatipai explained.

“Actually, KNPB activists in Timika always make peaceful demonstrations with all West Papuans.    We always make peaceful demonstrations to demand Referendum, as the best solution for West Papua,” he said.

Central to the police case was that the accused were allegedly carrying explosives to be used against Indonesian police posts and military targets, yet no evidence was furnished that could prove that the accused possessed explosives before t

Despite the Australian Federal Police providing Detachment 88 with state-of-the-art explosives and ballistic forensic testing capability to secure counter-terror convictions, none of this equipment or personnel were deployed in Papua for any of the OTK  trials, and no forensic proof was available at the Timika 6 trials that could have linked any of the defendants to use of explosives.

The trial heard wild accusations from prosecutors and police, but defence lawyers led by Gustaf Kawer, objected and expressed surprise when Yanto Awerkion (19) was sentenced.

As to who had ownership of explosives, Kawer explained to Suara Papua, none of the witnesses saw the defendant carrying explosives, but officials forced the defendant to claim possession of explosives.

“Since the moment of the defendant’s arrest along with five colleagues, there were absolutely no explosives he possessed … Yet when he reached the Mimika police station, the officers brought explosives and used it as evidence, and compelled the accused to confess  having an explosive. It’s very strange,” Kawer told Suara Papua.   “Our legal counsel will conduct a plea on April 23, 2013. The sixth defendant must be released immediately because of  not proven guilty, “

Kawer also objected to the sentencing of the other defendants under makar provisions, saying the judges decision “did not correlate with the examination of the facts.”

“For the first case, it’s not proven that the five defendants were in the possession of sharp weapons.  And concerning the  treason related article, also during the course of investigation (there was) not any reference to it, but nevertheless the judge decided one year in prison by saying treason  that was proven – so we will appeal, ” Kawer told suarapapua. com.

After the defendants returned to the prison cells that have been their home since October 2012, they made a video appeal on their mobile phones, calling on the international community to do more to ensure that Indonesia ceases its persecution of peaceful political activists.

“We hope (the) International community, Amnesty International, IPWP, ILWP support us and pressure Indonesia government, Indonesia Police in Papua and Timika,” Yatipai told West Papua Media.  “West Papua activists, and all West Papuans need UN Observers,  UN Humanitarian workers, and International Journalists now in Papua.”

“Please support us with prayer and monitoring for us” said Yatipai.

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PRD Merauke Secretary badly beaten by TNI 755 Btn

by West Papua Media and local sources

November 6, 2012

Information and video footage has emerged from Merauke, Papua, documenting the beating by Indonesian soldiers of the Secretary General of the Parlemen Rakyat Daerah (People’s Regional Parliament), further fulling tensions in the area between occupation forces and the local population.

The incident occurred around 3pm local time on November 3 , as the SekJen, Peter T. Katem was riding his Yamaha motorcycle with a community member, Mr Robert Mayonim.  The pair lost control of their bike due to newly made but rough village roads in Domba Empat street,  accidentally nudged a military officer with their motorbike outside the office of E Company, 755 Battalion (Merauke) of the Indonesian Army (TNI), according to witnesses.

Citizen journalists, Lintah Digoel and Rade Minyak. who interviewed the victims reported that the TNI member and two colleagues then gave chase after they refused to accept the accident, and attacked the pair at the crossroads outside the Company post.  As the beatings continued, more soldiers arrived on the scene and joined in, some in plain clothes and some in uniform.  The beating was filmed (below) by a witness.

According to local sources, Katem and Mayonim were taken forcibly to the E/755 Btn Post with beatings continuing as they were being dragged.  Arriving at the office, they were then tortured for about an hour and a half, they were punched, kicked and beaten with wood, fruit and bamboo.

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The persecution ended after a number of Domba Empat community members   came to the office to demand their release, which occurred two hours later, Digoel and Minyak reported.

So far, none of the perpetrators have been investigated.

 

with KNPBNews.com

 

Demos commemorating FRWP 1st anniversary held across Papua

Commemorating the 1st Anniversary of the Federated Republic of West Papua, remembering the crackdown.

October 20, 2012

by West Papua Media Editorial Team

As commemorations marking the Third Papuan People’s Congress were forcibly broken up by heavy handed security forces in Jayapura, the celebrations in Wamena, Merauke, Fakfak, Sorong, Timika and Serui were cheerfully welcomed with a thanksgiving service.

The commemorations were to mark the 1st anniversary of the founding of the Federated Republic of West Papua, which was declared as an independent state at the culmination of the Third Papuan Peoples’ Congress on October 19, 2011.  On that day, moments later, Indonesian police attacked the ceremony, killing up to 7 participants, beating scores more, and arresting and torturing hundreds.  The leaders of the FRWP, Forkorus Yaboisembut and Edison Waromi, together with Dominikus Sorabut, Agus Kraar and Selpius Bobii, remain political prisoners a year later, convicted of treason against the Indonesian occupiers in a farcical trial.

In Manokwari, more than one thousand participants braved heavy intimidation by security forces to walk four kilometres from the Sports Centre (GOR) in Sanggeng to Elim Church in Kwawi.  The marchers vibrantly enchanted gospel tunes and traditional West Papuan songs of liberation that has been deeply rooted in the long struggle for freedom.

Participants gathered around 8:30am to 9:30am at two different meeting points.  The first group gathers at the Sports Centre (GOR) in Sanggeng and later walk to the second meeting point at the banyan tree in front of the University of Papua (UNIPA). At around 9:30am, the security forces told the organisers to have a normal service without a march but were unable to stop the demands from the participants, and eventually the march proceeds at around 10:00am West Papua local time.

Police across Papua had banned the display of Papuan symbols and attributes for the independence struggle, but were left scratching their heads when Papuans in Manokwari came attired in entire Morning Star flags as pieces of clothing.

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Dr. Frans Kapisa, appointed Minister of Defence under the Federated Republic of West Papua, called for Jakarta to recognise the rights of Papuans that “from now and onwards, we (West Papuans) will demand, and demand, and demand the Indonesian government to immediately return our political rights,” said Mr Kapisa. “I want to underline that to determine the future of Papuans, it must be from Papuans themselves, not from outsiders or foreign governments” stated Mr Kapisa during his speech to the audience.

Speaking in front of journalists, Mr Kapisa further outlined, “once again I plead to Indonesian government to recognise and address this (West Papua issue) in a proper way so that in the future we will work together as a good neighbour and both Indonesia and West Papua can serve each others interest,” exclaim Mr Kapisa.

The peaceful march attracted hundreds of bystanders who eventually joined the march,  and security forces were on-site with two Dalmas public order riot units, two Police trucks, two Brimob paramilitary units and two pick-up vehicles.

Despite the security presence, Markus Yenu, Sius Ayemi, Siwa Tigtigweria, Erik Kayoi, Afred Auparay, Gustaf Wanma, Otto Rumasep, Eliezer Zet Wambrauw, Obet Elimelech Kaiwai, Erik Fimbay, Ham Yesham, Mark Umpes, Ariel Werimon, Hengki Saiba were all able to deliver their speeches.

Meanwhile in Jayapura, as the prayer service was interrupted by the Police use of force, organising committee members who brought the food to the event were prohibited to go to Theys Eluay’s graveside.  Instead, the Police seized the food from the mama-mama (Papuan Mothers) who are part of the organising committee, and threw it away into the nearby bushes, telling the mama-mama that they can not even go to meet the other participants.

The mothers were so disappointed in the Police behaviour.  One mother, who does not want to be identified, described the Police behaviour as “inhumane” and “no respect” to the indigenous people of the land.

Meanwhile, at the time of writing the article, SMS messages came through to West Papua Media that four people were “snatch” arrested by Kapolres in Jayapura at around 10:30am during the confusion of the forcible break-up of the rally.   West Papua Media stingers reported that a verbal confrontation between the organising committee and the Police force intensified and led to Charles Demetouw (75) and Marcel Kalakmabin (23) being dragged away forcefully by Police and immediately thrown into the police vehicle.

The two further arrestees were unable to be identified due to the sudden approach of Police who dragged them from behind and quickly taken away to the police vehicle. No further updates as to the status and condition of the four men, but local stringers believe the four were taken to Jayapura prison.  Credible fears have been express that the four may be subjected to  possible torture throughout the night.

The event finished with a closing prayer by Pastor Ketty Yabansabra.  As people dispersed peacefully, Pastor Ketty Yabansabra was followed by four men whom the organisers were certain to be intelligence officers. The four guys get onto their motorbikes and followed her home at around 3:oopm.  She went into hiding for few hours and later carefully went home to her family.

Local journalists for other media outlets were prevented from carrying out their duties by police, who stopped them from attending the day’s event in Jayapura, according to West Papua Media’s undercover trained stringers who eluded police monitoring.

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Videos of events in Manokwari (sorry no subtitles or transcriptions yet. Volunteer?)