Thursday, 17 January 2019

233 Papua Students Left Surabaya Police Custody

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  • Papuan activists shout near police during a rally to commemorate the West Papuan declaration of independence from Dutch colonial rule in Surabaya, December 1, 2018.   REUTERS/Sigit Pamungkas

    Papuan activists shout near police during a rally to commemorate the West Papuan declaration of independence from Dutch colonial rule in Surabaya, December 1, 2018. REUTERS/Sigit Pamungkas

    TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - Papuan Students Alliance activist Alince Tekege said that the 233 students arrested in Surabaya had been sent home. The students had been taken by the Surabaya Police for their safety.

    "They have all returned to their respective hometowns," Alince said via text message, Monday, December 3.

    According to Alince, the 233 students returned home in safe condition, although three of them suffered head injuries. "They had been treated at the Dr. Soetomo Hospital, in Surabaya."

    The Papuan students were taken into custody by the police during the December 1 march celebratin the proclaimed 57th independence day of Papua. A total of 537 people were arrested in Kupang, Ternate, Ambon, Manado, Makassar, Jayapura, Asmat, Waropen, and Surabaya.

    During the demonstration in Surabaya, 16 students were injured, three suffering head injuries from stone throwing and beatings.

    A number of mass organizations, including Pemuda Pancasila, FKPPI, Hipakad and the pencak silat organization held their own protest that day to counter the students. They intercepted the students who were marching towards the Grahadi Building on Jalan Gubernur Suryo.

    The mass organization members tried to attack the Papuan students, but were prevented by the police. After the demonstration ended, the police took the students in their custody for safety reasons.

    The police also arrested an Australian citizen who was at the students' dorm that night. The unknown foreign female citizen was immediately handed over to the Surabaya Immigration Office.

    According to the Papuan student legal counsel, Veronica Koman, the Australian woman actually had nothing to do with the December 1 demonstration.

    "She knows some of the students, so she was just visiting their dorms," Veronica said.

    ANTARA