Melbourne joins global protests to free West Papua


West Papuans and their supporters staged protests worldwide to coincide with US President Barack Obama's visit to Indonesia. Large protests were held in West Papua.

In Melbourne, about 50 activists protested at Federation Square on November 10, demanding action against the Indonesian government and its atrocities against West Papuans.

Protesters chanting "Papua merdeka" (“Free Papua”) and carrying the West Papuan flag called for the Australian government to stop all Australian financial support and training of Indonesian military and security personnel until human rights abuses in West Papua cease.

As part of the demonstration, two hours of film footage of the West Papuan independence movement was shown on Federation Square’s big screen.

The Australia West Papua Association (AWPA) organised the event to support the six-member West Papuan delegation to the United Nations, led by Richard Rumbiak from Melbourne, which is requesting that the UN "conduct a genuine, UN-monitored referendum on self determination in which all adult West Papuans are allowed to vote without duress”.

AWPA representative Gillius Kogoya spoke to Green Left Weekly.

"For the last five decades the Indonesian army has killed more than half of our people", he said. "We have no guns. We are using non violence to fight a ruthless Indonesian army. West Papuans live in fear of persecution, abduction and death because of who they are and we want the Australian people to help us."

If you like our work, become a supporter

Green Left is a vital social-change project and aims to make all content available online, without paywalls. With no corporate sponsors or advertising, we rely on support and donations from readers like you.

For just $5 per month get the Green Left digital edition in your inbox each week. For $10 per month get the above and the print edition delivered to your door. You can also add a donation to your support by choosing the solidarity option of $20 per month.

Freecall now on 1800 634 206 or follow the support link below to make a secure supporter payment or donation online.