Papuan Students Detained in Rally for Free Papua

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  • TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - Dozens of students from Papua was detained on Tuesday, December 1 during a rally at HI roundabout. Around 150 students gathered at two spots in HI roundabout and caused traffic jam in the area.

    Police had come and asked the students to rally at House of Representatives building or Gelora Bung Karno, but they refused. The police then forced the students to get off the road.

    The situation turned worse. Rocks were thrown and the police retaliated by shooting tear gas. Several protesters were hurt and some of them were detained and brought to the Jakarta Police office.

    “Hundreds of our friends were brought to the police,” said Papuan Students Alliance chairman Jefri Wenda. He said the police also detained Papuan students who came from Tangerang.

    “There should’ve been 500 people that participated in this rally, but they were arrested before they came here,” he said, adding that the rally was already officially notified to the police three days before.

    Menteng Police chief Comr. Dedy Tabrani said he had not received information on the plan to rally. As a result, the police were not ready to anticipate traffic jam. “Sending letter is not enough. There has to be approval first,” he said.

    Around 500 Papuan students from Java and Bali planned to go on long march from HI Roundabout to State Palace. They demand freedom in determining the fate of Papua. “We also wanted to retell that since December 1, 1961, Papua should’ve been independent,” said Jefri.