Flag-flying across West Papua planned for 1 July; Police are ready to respond

Bintang Papua, 26 June 2012

The OPM has announced that it intends to fly the Morning Star flag on July 1, the anniversary of the creation of the TPN, the military wing of the OPM. The flag flying across the territory of West Papua will be accompanied by a fireworks display.

The announcement was made by Lambert Pekikir, general coordinator of  the TPN/OPM from his base, Victoria, on the border between West Papua and PNG. He said that troops of the TPN are preparing themselves for the flag-flying which will continue from 1 – 3 July. The OPM will also read out a statement which says among other things that the UN must accept responsibility for all the violations that have occurred in West Papua.

He also said that civilians throughout the territory, Papuans as well as non-Papuans,  are advised to stay at home so as to avoid any unnecessary things from happening.

In response to the flag-flying plans, the police force in Papua have announced that they are making preparations for this,  and will do everything possible to ensure that no Morning Star flags are flown. A spokesman said that Papuans should not play round with the flag, like children flying kites. The police say that they will take the persuasive approach  and have no intention of using firearms in anticipation of the flag-flying. Police spokesman, AKBP Yohannes Nugroho Wicaksono, appealed to  those groups who intend to flag the flag not to do so.

The police chief has issued an order for no flags to be flown but if any flags are nevertheless flown, they will be pulled down without the use of violence. He also said that in advance of 1 July,  there will be sweepings  [of people’s homes] and patrols by the police will be intensified.

[Translated by TAPOL]

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