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