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Hundreds of activists arrested in three cities during rallies against New York Agreement

Tabloid Jubi - August 15, 2017

David Sobolim, Jayapura – At least 100 people from the Papuan Student Alliance (AMP) and the Indonesian People's Front for West Papua (FRI-WP) were arrested in Yogyakarta, Semarang and Jakarta during commemorations to mark the 55th anniversary of the New York Agreement.

Simultaneous actions by the AMP and FRI-WP were held in several cities across Java including Jakarta, Yogyakarta, Malang, Semarang and Bandung as well as Ternate in North Maluku.

All of the actions in Java were forcibly broken up by local police and various pro-NKRI (Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia) social organisations (ormas). According to the AMP's official Facebook account, several of those arrested suffered injuries including several lawyers who accompanied them.

In the Central Java provincial of Semarang, it was reported that 47 protesters were arrested by municipal police including two lawyers from the Semarang Legal Aid Foundation (LBH) who were taking part in the action.

Hupla Sobolim, who witnessed the action in Semarang, told Jubi by phone on August 15 that police had blocked the demonstrators even before they arrived at the Diponegoro Statue.

"The protesters were blocked by police who asked them to disband on the grounds that they did not have a permit. Yet the fact is that we had already sent a notification of the action although it was rejected by police", he said.

There were similar experiences in five other cities in Java. Police broke up demonstrations on the grounds that they did not have a permit to hold a demonstration despite organisers already sending police a notification.

Police also claimed that protests could not go ahead because of social organisations that opposed the actions.

Hupla said that he himself witnessed how the action coordinator, Januarius Adii, who was giving a speech, was suddenly dragged away by police and forced into a police vehicle. "His hair which was indeed in dreadlocks was tugged and pulled by police", he said.

"In addition to this, police also took away one of the lawyers from LBH Semarang, Rizky Putra Edry. The pair (Januarius and Rizky) were taken away in a police crowd control truck. After this the protesters were beaten back [by police]", said Hupla.

The protesters resisted vowing to remain on the streets demanding the pair's release. "In the end all of the protesters were forcibly taken away in crowd control trucks", said Hupla adding that it was then that police also arrested LBH lawyer Nico Andi Wauran who was forced to squat while the police held him.

According to Hupla, the protesters are still being questioned at the Semarang municipal police station. As many as 17 posters and a banner were also seized by police.

In the Central Java city of Yogyakarta meanwhile, 29 people were arrested before they could even begin the rally. Since early morning, police and the group Jogja Rembug (Paksi Katon) were on guard at locations where protesters were to gather – the Abu Bakar Ali parking area and the Zero Kilometre point in front of the central post office.

"At 10am two police vehicles, three police trucks, 10 trail bikes and one water canton, along with more than 100 police officers and 30 members of the ormas Jogja Rembug were on guard", according to a report received by Jubi from Yogyakarta LBH lawyer Emanuel Gobay on Tuesday August 15.

Members of the Paksi Katon formed a line in front of the AMP and FRI-WP action while shouting, "Separatists, smash, smash, smash, communists, smash, smash, smash. NKRI is non-negotiable", wrote Emanuel.

This did not however stop the action by scores of people from the AMP and FRI-WP even though rally materials such as symbolic bier were destroyed by ormas members. A scuffle broke out and the protesters were escorted to police vehicles.

It was not until 6pm that the activists were finally released. "The protesters from FRI-WP and Yogyakarta city AMP, totalling 29 people, have all now been released", Emanuel told Jubi.

As of going to print however, 24 people, some of which were injured, are still being held by the Metro Jaya police in Jakarta.

In the East Java city of Malang meanwhile, a protest action was forcibly disbursed resulting in several injuries. Around 30 demonstrators that had gathered at the Gajayana Stadium since early morning were blocked by groups such as the Pancasila Youth (PP), the Families of Indonesian Veterans and Police and Military Retirees (GM-FKPPI) along with several Islamic groups wearing turbans, white skull caps and Arab-style shirts who shouted that NKRI is non-negotiable.

The New York Agreement was signed in New York on August 15, 1962 between the Netherlands and Indonesia which gave the United Nations a mandate to supervise a referendum for Papuans in 1969. The agreement is considered not to have represented the interests of indigenous Papuans because it did not involve representatives from Western New Guinea.

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was Peringati 55 tahun New York Agreement, 100 orang ditangkap di tiga kota.]

Source: https://tabloidjubi.com/artikel-8766-peringati-55-tahun-new-york-agreement-100-orang-ditangkap-di-tiga-kota.html.

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