Demonstration in support of ILWP fails to reach its destination

Bintang Papua, 11 October 2011

A demonstration organised by KNPB, the West Papua National Committee, in support of the ILWP, the International Lawyers for West Papua, was unable to reach its intended destination, the office of the DPRP, and the governor’s office. When the demonstrators marched from Expo, Waena and reached the Abepura junction, they intended to proceed to the office of the MRP [Majelis Rakyat Papua – Papuan People’s Assembly], but had to stop. It was already late afternoon which meant they would be unable to reach Jayapura in time so they halted their march.

While proceeding along the main Abepura road, they conducted some actions which ended with a communal prayer. From there, the demonstrators returned home peacefully. The action caused some congestion which lasted till early evening.

The chairman of the KNPB, Buchtar Tabuni, said that they had received the police acknowledgement of their notification about the demo too late, which was why they were unable to reach their destination before nightfall.

Despite this delay, they were determined to proceed with the demonstration, the purpose of which was to express support for the ILWP meeting in the UK in August this year.

According to the Bintang Papua journalist, the demonstration proceeded smoothly, but had to change its route because of the traffic congestion. A number of businesses along the route decided to close shop for a while.

In a press release received by this newspaper, Mako Tabuni said that the KNPB supports the statement made by the UN secretary-general Ban Ki-Moon in Auckland New Zealand for the West Papua issue to be submitted to the UN Decolonisation Committee [NB: this was subsequently corrected as Ban Ki-Moon had said no such thing].

The demonstrators shouted slogans supporting independence and a referendum for West Papua.

According to the Bintang Papua journalist, security forces from the Jayaura police as well as Brimob troops were guarding the route. Moreover, some Barakuda tanks were on guard at Imbi Square, to provide protection for the MRP office.

[Slightly abridged translation by TAPOL]

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