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Protest for Papuan political prisoners broken up by police

Protest calling for release of Papuan political prisoners broken up by police

Selangkah Magazine
April 2, 2014

Today on Wednesday April 2, Papua Student Solidarity with Political Prisoners (SMPTN-Papua), which is made up of students from various universities in the West Papuan provincial capital of Jayapura, held a peaceful demonstration calling for the release of Papuan political prisoners in jails throughout Indonesia.

The group demonstrated at several different locations in the upper and lower parts of the Cendrawasih University (Uncen) campus.

At 11.30am, a fully armed joint police team made up of several different units arrived and attempted to break up the demonstration. A protracted argument broke out between police and a student holding a megaphone.

Police then proceeded to forcibly break up the action by students who were exercising their freedom of expression and right to demonstrate peacefully. Police fired several shots and moved in to silence the students calling for the release of Papuan political prisoners. Fully armed police also occupied the entrance to the university and remained on guard for some time.

The police also used abusive language against the students. "Damned stupid students", shouted one officer as they fired shots. Several students were provoked into anger and pelted the police with stones.

According to Selangkah Magazine's observations, the students became disorientated and panicked. Local people in the vicinity of the State Housing Company also panicked, especially after hearing the shooting.

As of going to print, the situation had still not returned to normal. Students who were forced back into the campus by police with loaded weapons fled. Several were reportedly arrested but this has not been confirmed. The situation remains tense. (HY/BT/MS)

[Slightly abridged translation by James Balowski for the Indoleft news service.]


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