4 Facts about Papua Unrest

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Laila Afifa

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  • Rally turns to riot in Jayapura, Papua, on Thursday, August 29, 2019. ANTARA/Dian Kandipi

    Rally turns to riot in Jayapura, Papua, on Thursday, August 29, 2019. ANTARA/Dian Kandipi

    TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - Rallies at several areas in Papua Province on Thursday, August 29, turned into riots. The Papua unrest has caused damage to materials in Sentani, Abepura, Kotaraja, and Jayapura.

    The demonstration protested racist slurs committed by mass organization and authorities at Papuan student dorms in Surabaya on August 16. Earlier on August 15, in Malang, East Java, a group of Papuan students was barred from conducting a rally due to administrative issue.

    The incidents in Surabaya and Malang have triggered riots in Manokwari and Sorong, West Papua Province, on August 19. Now, the unrest has reoccurred. The following are the facts on Papua unrest:

    1. Buildings and shops were burned down

    A number of office buildings and businesses along the Abepura, Entrop, and Jayapura area, including Telkomsel building and Jayapura Post office, was burned down. The branch of Bank Indonesia office and shopping centers also became the targets.

    2. Anarchistic

    A Jayapura resident, Yusup Rifai, said that it was the second demonstration that turned into a riot. The first one on August 19 went well and was under control, while the second rally tended to be anarchistic. The mass walked while throwing the buildings along the road they passed by.

    "Several buildings, as well as motorcycles, cars, and shops along Jalan Entrop were burned down," he said Thursday, August 29.

    3. Civilians and authorities fell into victims

    Based on the data from the police, a civilian was shot in the leg and died at Enarotali Hospital. Another civilian and one TNI (Indonesian Military) member also died of arrow attacks at Deiyai Regency office yard.

    Meanwhile, a TNI personnel, a Police's Brimob personnel, and three Paniai Police officers sustained injuries following the arrow attack.

    4. The demand for Papua independence referendum

    The Police Chief of Public Information Brig. Gen. Dedi Prasetyo said the clash broke after around 150 protesters pressed Deiyai Regent to sign Papua referendum to separate from Indonesia.

    A negotiation between the protesters and authorities from the TNI and the Police took place in the location. But the clash broke during the negotiation. "Thousands of people, coming from various directions, armored with sharp weapons and arrows immediately attacked the security forces," Dedi said in Ancol, North Jakarta on Thursday, August 29.

    The Papua unrest that has taken casualties was unavoidable.

    HENDARTYO HANGGI | AHMAD FAIZ | ANDITA RAHMA | M ROSSENO AJI | FIKRI ARIGI