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Summary of Violations of Freedom of Expression on West Papua: 15 August 2019

16 August, 2019

(London, 16 August 2019) Peaceful protesters across Indonesia and West Papua took to the streets yesterday to commemorate the 1962 New York Agreement and to support the West Papua delegation at the Pacific Islands Forum Summit. The groups protesting were from  the Action Committee of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (Komite Aksi ULMWP), the Papuan Students Alliance (Aliansi Mahasiswa Papua / AMP), Indonesian People’s Front for West Papua (Front Rakyat Indonesia untuk West Papua / FRI-WP), and Papuan Students Community (Komunitas Mahasiswa Papua / KMP).The day was marked with forced dispersal, mass arrests, and violence from both state and non-state actors against the peaceful protesters.

A total of 169 protesters were arrested and 39 protesters were injured. All of them have since been released except one West Papuan in Jayapura which we consider as a new West Papuan political prisoner. Details of the response to the protests across the region are outlined below. 

Jayapura, West Papua:

65 people were forcibly dispersed by police then arrested. All of them were released the following morning except Bazoka Logo, who is being interrogated for alleged falsification of identity documents. He is a prominent grassroots leader and may be being targeted due to his profile.


Sentani, West Papua:

76 people were forcibly dispersed by police then arrested. All of them were released the evening.


Malang, East Java:

56 students were forcibly dispersed and attacked by civil militia under police watch. The students were verbally abused, kicked, beaten, and had helmets, rocks, and chili juice thrown at them. Because  the police failed to intervene, some students threw the rocks back at the militia. Twenty-three students were injured. Following the incident, the deputy mayor suggested that West Papuan students would be forcibly removed from the city due to the unrest caused by “separatists”.



Ternate, North Maluku:

16 peaceful protesters were rounded up, kicked, pelted with fruit being sold at the market nearby, and were beaten with helmets by uniformed and plainclothes security forces. One female protester passed out and had to be taken to a hospital. All of the protesters were arrested and beaten throughout the arrest and interrogation. Thirteen of them are from the Indonesian solidarity movement.



Ambon, Maluku:

Eleven people were forcibly dispersed and briefly arrested. Their equipment including posters was taken by police.


Sula, Maluku:

A student was arrested overnight because he was distributing leaflets about the history of the 1962 New York Agreement. He was released the following morning after he was forced to sign a statement that he would not participate in any activities relating to West Papua issues in the future.


Bandung, West Java:

Several dozen peaceful protesters had to move from the initial protest location to another location in order to avoid being attacked by more than one hundred civil militia.


Yogyakarta and Jakarta:

Protests took place without any interference.