Indonesian Police Chief condemns West Papua flag-raising
28 November 2013
Indonesian Police Chief condemns West Papua flag-raising ceremony
“The Bintang Kejora flag raising ceremony on Dec. 1 is forbidden nd those involved will be dealt with seriously,” said National Police chief Gen. Sutarman who is visiting West Papua this week.
Statements from the national police chief raise great concern for West Papuans that might taking part in flag raising ceremonies on the 1 December, West Papua’s national flag day:
Joe Collins of AWPA said the recent crackdown on the KNPB rallies over the last few days indicate the security forces are taking a hard line approach to peaceful demonstrations and the situation is not helped by statements from The National Police chief Gen. Sutarman who said: "that the police would crack down on groups that intended to separate from the unitary state of Indonesia, including by strictly enforcing a ban on flying the Morning Star (Bintang Kejora) separatist flag, which West Papuans often try to raise in a special ceremony each Dec. 1" He also said he would take firm action against protesters who resort to “anarchy”, including those involved in a West Papua National Committee (KNPB) rally in Jayapura recently, which turned violent and left nine people injured"
During the crackdown on the rallies on Tuesday the police claim they seized a number of weapons including firearms, Molotov cocktails and bows and arrows. The KNPB claimed they weapons had been planted to frame members of the KNPB.
A KNPB press release also said Indonesian police had shot dead a number of members of KNPB. 10 people were injured and up to 28 arrested in the Jayapura rally on Tuesday and Journalists who were covering the rallies were intimidated by the police.
At a rally in Timika it was reported that up to 30 people were arrested by the police and military.
Joe Collins said although not yet confirmed it appears our foreign minister is going to Jakarta in a bid to soothe tensions over the damage caused by the spying scandal.
Joe Collins said, “Now is the time for the foreign minister to raise concerns about the grave human rights abuses that are occurring in West Papua. If Australia continues to ignore the issue we are going to see a lot more damaging incidents in our relationship with Jakarta and it will be over West Papua”.