Asso said that on that day, there will be actions by indigenous groups in seven regions that claim to be part of the Federated Republic of West Papua in Mamta, Saireri, Bomberay, Domberay, Me Pago, Ha Amin and several other places, which will take the form of prayer meetings or flag ceremonies.
However, Asso said that it was not possible for him to tell groups not to wave the Morning Star flag ‘because they have every right to do so’.
He said that it was up to the security force to act in a professional way during these coming events. Demonstrations on 1 December have become a regular annual feature for Papuan people to commemorate this historic day and this has been going on for many years.
‘The police should act wisely and professionally. They should avoid repressive actions. If they fail to do so, there will be many victims among the Papuan people . In Sentani, it is likely that the event will take place at the grave of [the assassinated Papuan leader] Theys Eluay with prayers being said.’ But Asso said he was not sure what would happen in Jayapura.
The chief of police for Papua, Inspector-General Tito Karnavian has said that the army (TNI) and the police will be out guarding the areas because this is an integral part of their duties.. But Asso said that they should not resort to the use of violence. ‘If the demonstrators only intend to say prayers, why should this be banned by the security forces?’
He went on to say that the spirit of democracy is developing and people are expressing their aspirations in peaceful ways, but if the State goes on silencing democracy, it will be responsible for closing down the space for democracy and there will be yet more injustices and human right abuses.
‘Everyone agrees about the need for security and moreover there is a law in force which guarantees protection for the citizens. And this is quite clear in the first article of the 1945 constitution.’
[Translated by TAPOL]
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