More protests held for French journalists in West Papua
October 18, 2014
On 13th October,protests were held all over West Papua in support of the release of French journalists Thomas Dandois and Valentine Bourrat being detained by the Indonesian authorities in West Papua.
The journalists situation
The Indonesian government still bans all foreign journalists from entering West Papua and Thomas and Valentine were arrested there on August 6th simply for reporting on the situation. They now face a potential 5 year jail sentence just for doing their duty as journalists. The Indonesian government is still systematically trying to cover up their atrocities in West Papua by banning all foreign media. They do not want the world to know the truth because they know that when it is exposed, the international community will help to support the West Papuan people and their struggle for self-determination.
By holding this protest, West Papuans pressurise the Indonesian government to stop hiding the truth in West Papua and to let journalists have access so that the world will finally know what is really happening there.
The day of action
This nation wide day of protests, organised by the West Papua National Committee (KNPB) was held all over West Papua and also by Papuan students in Indonesia. The protests brought hundreds of people onto the streets to call for the release of the pair. In Port Numbay/Jayapura the KNPB demonstrated peacefully on the street to call for the release of the journalists but were blockaded by a convoy of Indonesian police vehicles and a large number of armed Indonesian police who forcibly broke up the demonstration and arrested 17 protestors.The names of those arrested are: 1. Eliaser Anggainggom 2. Agus Kosay 3. Ucak Logo 4. Regina Wenda 5. Yimi Broway 6. Marten Suhuniap 7. Rebekah Komba 8. Marice Mambrasar 9. Lazkar Same 10. Isak Salak 11. Peter Petege 12. Manu Mohi 13. David Walilo 14. Palina Pagage 15. Teren Sorabut 16. Wilem Wandik 17. Tinus Heluka
In Meruake, at 06:20 Papuans gathered outside the immigration centre to protest but were forcibly dispersed by Indonesian soldiers, police and intelligence officers. 29 West Papuans were arrested. The names of those who are known to have been arrested are as follows: 1. Gento Emerikus Doop 2. Yosep Novaris Wogan 3. Emelianus Nemop 4. Charles Sraun 5. Yohanes Kayop 6. Petrus Wogang 7. Kristianus Mahuze 8. Emanuel Metemko 9. Yosep Imbanop 10. Yosep Muyan 11. Petrus Katem 12. Ap Moses 13. K Pasim 14. Yermias Kepze 15. Yustinus Airit 16. Emerikus Kakupu 17. Yosep P 18. Muyan 19. Yosep C. H. Imbanop 20. Stevanus Kaize 21. Melkior Kebze 22. Kornelis Yolem
In Timika, almost 1000 Papuans rallied to show their support for the release of the journalists and media freedom in West Papua. They protested down the streets but were met with fully armoured Indonesian riot police and armoured police vehicles.
Here is a video of the Timika protest:
Similar protests were also held in Manokwari, FakFak, Nabire, Merauke, Yahukimo and Sorong. The West Papuan Student’s Alliance (AMP) also protested on the islands of Java in the cities of Yogyakarta, Bandung and Surabaya.
This day of action, involving thousands of Papuans in more than 10 cities in West Papua and Indonesia, was an extremely significant day in drawing international awareness and pressure upon the Indonesian government. This pressure continues to push the goal of the journalists release, media access to West Papua and ultimately self-determination for the West Papuan people.
Summation of the protests
We are appalled that over 40 peaceful Papuan protesters were arrested by armed Indonesian police just for demanding the release of two innocent journalists. Actions such as these undertaken by the Indonesian state show clearly how scared they are of the international community finding out about what is really happening in West Papua and of West Papuans demanding their own human rights peacefully.
The Free West Papua Campaign will continue to also push for the journalists release and for self-determination and freedom for West Papuans at last. We will be sure to keep you updated about the situation in West Papua, including about the mass coordinated actions such as these.