from West Papua Media sources in Wewak, Papua New Guinea
December 11, 2012
Over one thousand civil society members from Wewak, East Sepik Province in Papua New Guinea, turned out on December 10 to support their wantoks across the border in a large and vibrant demonstration that brought the provincial capital to a standstill, local stringers from West Papua Media report.
The rally and festival, called to bring attention to human rights situation in neighbouring West Papua on International Human Rights Day, saw PNG government officials, security forces, church leaders and ordinary people march together calling on the PNG government to do more to stand up to Indonesia on the issue of West Papua, and for the sovereign rights of West Papua to be respected.
At around 9:00am the marchers gathered at Mongian Compound, about 500 metres from Wewak town market. A long-march started with less than hundred people but the numbers grew throughout the day. As the marchers approached Wewak town area around 10:00am,Wewak local time, the number had grown to one thousand people. The positive environment and support from the authorities and civil society motivated long-march organisers to do four laps around Wewak Town until midday.
One West Papuan observer told West Papua Media via phone conversation that the spontaneous support from the public was “amazing and unreal”. As further quoted “a lot of ordinary people and women who sell their food at Wewak town market left their goods and joined the march. They even donated money, food, drinks and various garden food to us (West Papuan asylum seekers).”
At around, 12:30pm, the streets of Wewak was covered with sea of people who called for basic human rights to be protected, but importantly echoing the aspirations of the sovereign right of West Papuan people, according to participants
The long-march finished at the new Police Station near Wewak Town Market, where various speakers addressed the crowd. Amongst the speakers were, Miss Sophie Mangai, President of Wewak Women’s Council, who led the long-march calling on those gathered to “lets all support our brothers and sisters from West Papua for their struggle for independence.”
“West Papuans are our brothers and sisters; we are one people; one ancestor; and one Melanesia in the Pacific. So we must drive out Indonesia from the land of West Papua,” said Miss Mangai.
Other Speakers included: Florence Parinjo (Wewak Women Council), Abraham Kareni, Jusuf Kambuaya and Daniel Waromi (West Papuan expatriates living in Wewak) and followed by other West Papuan asylum seekers.
PNG Media including NBC also covered the rally, interviewing many West Papuan and PNG people present.
According to rally organisers, the rally was fully endorsed by Sakien Sakawar (Police Border Commander), Mr. Francis Kemaken (Coordinator of Diocese of Caritas PNG/Oceania, and Patron of the Federated Republic of West Papua Branch-ESP Wewak PNG), 3. Miss Sophie Mangai (President of East Sepik Council of Women), and Jusuf Kambuaya (General Secretary, Federated Republic of West Papua Branch Office Wewak).
Informal festivities continued into the night, according to local sources.
West Papua Media
- Indonesian special forces hunt West Papuan environmentalist (westpapuamedia.info)
- Is West Papua being split up to marginalise the Papuan people? (westpapuamedia.info)
- Indonesia cannot kill our spirit for freedom: West Papuan leader (westpapuamedia.info)