Media Alert: Over 500 people arrested for calling for West Papua’s full MSG membership and rejecting Indonesia’s invasion

December 19, 2016

Today on 19th December, rallies took place across West Papua to show support for the United Liberation Movement (ULMWP)’s full membership of the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG), as well as rejecting the Indonesian military’s illegal invasion of West Papua exactly 55 years ago on 19th December.

You can read West Papuan Independence Leader Benny Wenda’s full statement written on this morning before the mass arrests here.


Around 10,000 people reportedly marched in Wamena, West Papua today to show their support for West Papua’s full MSG membership and to reject Indonesia’s invasion of West Paoua. 87 people were arrested at this peaceful rally, including 6 children. 78 others were arrested the night before.

Rallies were held in: Jayapura, Merauke, Nabire, Yogyakarta, Manado, Wamena, Jakarta, Sorong, Manokwari, Timika, Yahukimo, Biak, Bandung, Ternate, Ambon and Makassar.

Total arrests: 528

Merauke: 126 people, all released.
Nabire: 74 people, released except 12 people
Yogyakarta: 38 people, all released
Gorontalo & Manado: 86 people, several interrogated without lawyer
Wamena: 165 people arrested, 15 were released
Jayapura: 40 people

Indonesian students joined West Papuans demonstrating in Bandung today

– Journalists were not allowed to cover near the Central KNPB HQ.
– A journalist’s motorbike was confiscated without any clear reason.
– The Central KNPB HQ was vandalized
– Beatings reported during arrest, 7 people are badly injured

– Children were among the arrestees
– Ill treatment by police by forcing protestors to smear their faces with coal and beaten with cane. Several are badly injured.

West Papuan children were among those arrested today for peacefully demonstrating in Wamena, West Papua

Merauke: children were among the arrestees

Sorong: At least one West Papuan activist was tortured by the Indonesian police.

– 78 people were arrested the night before protest
– beatings reported during arrest. Several are badly injured
– Police fired dozens shots to the air including tear-gas during arrest
– 6 children are among the arrested

*Information in this media alert comes from Human Rights advocates within West Papua, the West Papua National Committee (KNPB) and the Free West Papua Campaign.