Tag Archives: Serui

Photo Report: Scores of Morning Star flags flown in Serui demo, despite police objections

from Tabloid JUBI and West Papua Media
20 April, 2012
Over 400 Bintang Kejora (Morning Star) flags were flown by scores of people on a demonstration in Tanggal, Serui, West Papua.  According to media sources, they were demonstrating to  express support for launching of a US branch of International Lawyers for West Papua (ILWP) – this is spelt out as the International Parliamentarians, not Lawyers – in the United States.  However sources on the ground confirmed to West Papua Media that the demo was carried out by over 5000 people in support of the Federal Republic of West Papua, and demanded full international legal recognition of Papuan’s desire for independence and to uphold the universal right to self-determination.

Confirming the event, Aston Situmorang of the NGO Working Forum of Cenderawasih Bay said that thousands of people had gathered to take part in the demonstration from all parts of the district of Serui. The participants first gathered  in three places and then converged on the location of the demonstration.  After they had made their way to Tanggul, a number of speeches were delivered in support of the ILWP.

When the local chief of  police was contacted regarding this demonstration, he denied that anyone had flown the kejora flag. ‘No such thing happened,’ he said. ‘It’s a lie.’ He said that  people marched together but no flags were flown. The demonstrators had only carried banners expressing support for the establishment of the ILWP in the US.

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Pictures from the mass flaying of banned Morning Star flags, Serui, 20 April 2012.  According to Indonesian police: “No such thing happened… It’s a lie.” 

Organisers of the demonstration contradicted the police version of events, claiming several groups of up to 470 flags (in each group) were flown, after Police and military attempted to blockade the rally with force.  However given the sheer number of flags, security forces did not attempt to intervene and allowed flags to be flown, an act which carries severe prison terms under the provisions of makar (treason).

A successful tactic employed by rally participants was  mass body painting of the Morning Star flag, an act that although challenging makar provisions remains unenforceable under Indonesian Law.

According to another report about the demonstration in JUBI on the same day, the local police chief in Serui had allowed fifty flags to be flown at the demonstration. According to the organisers, the majority  of the participants were waving flags.

[A photo illustrating the article shows a large number of people, certainly more than fifty, and in this section of the crowd, I was able to count about twenty flags. Translator.]

It was reported that the local police had refused to allow people at the demonstration to take photos. According to the organisers, ‘As we were marching along the road, the police prohibited the use of cameras, but after the people arrived  at the location (Tanggul), the police then allowed photos to be taken.’

Aston Situmorang said  that demonstrators had come from all parts of the district; some were arrested in several places in the town centre, but they were not held for long and after being released, they were able to rejoin the demonstration. As they arrived at the location of the demo, a number of people made speeches..

Many of the participants had walked a long distance from Mantembu, with the whole march proceeding peacefully. After the speeches had been made, they dispersed.

The local chief of police, Yohannes Nugroho Wicakasono, said that the demonstration had been organised by the West Papuan National Authority (WPNA) and had proceeded peacefully, lasting from 9am till 1.30pm. He said that kejora flags had been flown, but after they had been given warnings, the flags  were taken down, collected and put away.

A more senior police chief in the town of Seruis, Daniel Prio Dwiatmoko denied that kejora flags had been flown, saying that the demonstrators had only carried banners   expressing support for the  ILWP which has just been set up in the US.

with West Papua Media, and translated by Tapol (UK)

Morning Star flag flew for 5 hours in Serui

Unofficial Morning Star flag, used by supporte...
Image via Wikipedia
Bintang Papua,13 February 2012Serui: The Morning Star flag , Kejora, the flag of the separatists in Papua,  was held aloft for five hours in Serui, district of Yapen islands on Saturday, 11 February.

The local chief of police said that  this had been done by people who dont want peace and tranquillity  to prevail in Serui. He also called them ‘irresponsible elements’.

The police chief, Deniel P.Dwi Atmoko,  said that they were investigating the motives of those involved. ‘However, we can conclude that these people do not want peace to prevail and always engage in activities which are in violation of the law and one of things they do is to raise the kejora flag.’

He then went on to express his thanks to all those who had assisted the police and the army (TNI)  in pulling down the flag. ‘This proves that  the majority of people in Serui are very eager for peace. This is clear from the fact that the local people waited until the security forces had pulled the flag down.

He expressed the hope that these elements would not do such a thing again. ‘Stop doing things that clearly violate the law because this can only result in difficulties for the individuals themselves as well as for their families. We must work together to develop Serui in peace and tranquillity  so as to ensure that the activities being undertaken by the local government can be achieved.’

[Abridged in translation by TAPOL]

Breaking News: Troops seeking arrest of Bpk Terrianus Israel Yoku, WPNA



1340 AEST, Tuesday Juy 11, 2011

Information has just been received from credible sources in Serui, West Papua, that Indonesian Army (TNI) soldiers are occupying the village of Mantembu in preparation for the arrest of Reverend Terrianus Israel Yoku, the Chairman of the National Congress of West Papua National Authority.

According to witnesses in Mantembu, 30 armed soldiers from KODIM Serui entered Mantembu at around 9.30am asking the whereabouts of the President of Papua – meaning Chairman of national Kongress WPNA, Terry Yoku.  The witnesses described via SMS that the soldiers are wearing full combat equipment complete with rifles, and ammunition.  People in the village are very scared.

The West Papua National Authority is a key sector within the West Papuan resistance movement, and is styled as a Transitional Government.  It has played a leading role in the mass non-violent resistance movement across Papua.  Together with KNPB, this week it boycotted the Indonesian-sponsored dialogue process of Neles Tebay and LIPI.

Currently, the Indonesian Army are also attempting to capture the head of the TPN-PB armed resistance in Tingginambut, Puncak Jaya.

Mantembu is the area from which the late ex-political prisoner Yawan Wayeni came.  Wayeni’s death was captured on a Youtube video in 2009 after having been bayoneted and disembowelled by Brimob troops in a case that provoked international outrage, although no-one has been held to account for his treatment or death.

Please stay tuned for more information.

Large rally against torture held Serui; Police confiscate rally equipment, then apologise to organisers

by Nick Chesterfield, Ronny Kareni; local sources for West Papua Media team

Serui, Thursday, June 23, 2011

Indonesian police in Serui, off the north coast of West Papua, this morning have forcefully confiscated banners, Morning Star flags, amplifiers and other rally paraphernalia from West Papuan protestors, before allowing a major rally against torture to go ahead. Despite providing police with significant notice, organisers of today’s rallies have met with inconsistent police policy in allowing legitimate peaceful expression to occur.

The rallies are being held by the West Papua National Authority (WPNA) to express opposition to institutionalised Indonesian security force torture and maltreatment of West Papuan people, and against the continuing criminalisation of legitimate peaceful dissent.  It is also to support efforts in Washington DC for West Papua by Torture Abolition and Survivors Support Coalition (TASSC) including seminars, a Vigil to End Torture in front of the White House, and Congressional Briefings on Capitol Hill.  The rally had been planned to conduct a traditional long march or “jigjog” to the offices of the DPRD, the Papuan Provincial Parliament.

Police in Serui conducted security sweeps of the area from 8 to 10 pm last night.  “This is a usual sweeping that security forces do for security measures prior to an event”. said Pak Eddy, the head of intelligence for the police (KAINTEL POLRES) in Serui said via phone to West Papua Media.

At 8am this morning, rally organisers were visited by two uniformed Papuan police officers, who told WPNA Serui Governor David Abon to cancel the long march from Wombai Park to the DPRD office. Instead, they instructed Abon to drop people with trucks to the office, but stated firmly that Police “will not provide security for the protesters, nor guarantee their safety”.

Rally organisers expressed fears that this would be a prelude for police standing down in the face of militia or military violence, and were perturbed that the police would abrogate its State Responsibility for providing security for civilians engaging in legitimate peaceful expression.   The Indonesian police has a long and regular history of standing to one side while military or military controlled civilian groups conduct serious acts of violence against political or religious opposition, such as with East Timor, in West Papua, and more recently against the Ahmadiyah.  However, neither the WPNA nor Police have shared any specific intelligence about pro-Jakarta militia mobilisations, despite the local presence of both the Laskar Merah Putih, and the newly formed Euricio Guterres / Bas Suebu militia, ASWAIN.

Over 1000 people had begun to gather at Wombai Park, Serui, on Thursday morning in preparation for the long march and listen to speeches and music.  At 10:00am, as people were meeting to discuss security situation and day’s plans, one company (150 police) of local Police present at Wombai confiscated with force a truck, Morning Star flags and material (like bags and beanies), amplifiers, and four banners. Due to the speed and force used, people at the park were subject to mounting fear, and were uncertain for their safety.

KAINTEL Eddy told the crowd,  “Don’t bring flags or banners to the rally, but rally can still go ahead”.  This action was is contravention to the rights of people to engage in free cultural expression.

The crowd then dispersed peacefully from Wombai and made its way to the DPRD office.  Over 200 armed Gegana paramilitary motorbike police are in attendance, as are two companies of normal police.

WPNA Security is still on high alert against agents provocateur, and has clear line of communication open to prevent escalation with both Pak Eddy and the KAPOLRES (Regency level Chief of Police, currently in Jayapura).

In Mantembu at midday, prior to that march joining with the main rally, Police attempted to shut down the march, and again seized banners that displayed the Morning Star symbol.  An intense vocal confrontation between WPNA and Police ensued, but negotiations with Police successfully agreed the rally to be continued until 4pm.

” We will provide the safety and security of all the participants”, said Terrianus Israel Yoku, National Congress President of WPNA.   “We want to freely exercise our rights to freedom of assembly, and we ask for security forces to respect the rights of West Papuans to voice our concerns”, said Yoku.

“Even though the security forces stop trucks and confiscate morning star flags, banners and amplifiers, it wont stop us marching in peace” said David Abon, govenor of Yapen Waropen.

The Kapolres and KAINTEL POLRES apologised to Reverend Yoku, WPNA, for the confiscation of items and the force that was used against demonstrators this morning.

Participants from Wombai joined with the 500 Mantembu marchers, who then joined over 3000 people already gathered at DPRD.  Delegations also came from Sorong, Manokwari, Jayapura, Fak Fak, Bintuni, Waropen, and Mamberamo.  Over 5000 people stayed upon the steps of the DPRD office listening to speeches and music.

“A Salute to everyone who made the decision to participate in this long march for peace and justice in West Papua. This is an act of working together in support of what is happening in Australia and Washington to speak out on the ongoing torture and issues towards indigenous West Papuans”,  said Jacob Rumbiak, WPNA Foreign Affairs Coordinator, in Australia.

“Today, the international advocates are monitoring the situation in West Papua, especially in Serui, and we ask the Indonesian security forces to respect the rally and allow every West Papuans to freely exercise their freedom of expression and freedom assembly”, said Terry Bukorpioper, WPNA’s designated spokesperson to the UN.

At time of writing,  close to 5000 people joined on the steps of DPRD in a closing prayer with Reverend Phil Ayeni to peacefully end the rally.

West Papua Media will continue to monitor the situation closely, and provide timely updates.


by West Papua National Authority Foreign Affairs office

David Abon, Governor of the West Papua National Authority in Yapen-Waropen-Mamberano, says that having two representatives in Washington participating in ABOLISH TORTURE WEEK in Washington DC is a source of inspiration for all West Papuans.

Herman Wainggai has been invited by the Coalition of International Torture Abolition and Survivors Support (TASSC) to participate in its seminars at George Washington University and Catholic University of America, a Vigil to End Torture in front of the White House, and Congressional Briefings on Capital Hill.

“Herman’s presence at this international gathering shows the world that West Papua’s independence is an international issue, and well beyond the capacity of the Indonesian government to deal with” said Mr Abon in Serui.

“When the US Congress hears about the latest Indonesian military activities in West Papua, they will be listening closely” said Rev. Terrianus Yoku, President of WPNA Congress, as thousands welcomed him in Serui for the rally today.

In the distinguished tradition of non-violence, the WPNA rally in Serui on begins with a long march (called “jigjog” in local slang) from Wombai Park on the beach to the People Representatives Office (DPRD).

“All West Papuans want is justice and democracy” said WPNA’s Jacob Rumbiak in Australia, himself a victim of torture and long-term incarceration. “Is President Yudhoyono brave enough to follow President Obama’s signature on self-determination for Puerto Ricans”.

“Releasing our political prisoners would be a good start” he added.

RALLY INTERVIEWS:  contact details for on ground spokespeople available to bona fide journalists – please contact West Papua Media on +61450079106 or editor<@>westpapuamedia.infoWest Papua Media will be be monitoring the situation closely.