West Papuan rally in Bali targeted by nationalists

April 3, 2023
West Papua rally attacked
Nationalists (top left and bottom right) attack the protest, with the resulting clashes leaving several people injured. Photos: AWPA

The Australian West Papua Association (AWPA) reports that the Papuan Student Alliance (AMP) held a rally in Bali City, on April 1, calling on the Indonesian government to hold a referendum on self-determination for the Papuan people.

The theme of the rally was, “Democracy and Human Rights Die, Papuan People Suffocate”.

An AMP spokesperson told the rally that there is a lack of freedom of expression in West Papua and the human rights situation is getting worse.

However, as the rally started it was blocked by members of the Indonesian nationalist organisation, the Patriot Garuda Nusantara (PGN).

AMP’s Action Coordinator Herry Meaga told the media that a number of intelligence officers were also monitoring the event.

Meaga said AMP representatives tried to negotiate with a number of the PGN coordinators, but the situation deteriorated and clashes broke out between the two groups when the PGN crowd started to push the AMP group, and tried to seize a number of AMP banners.

PGN members threw stones and bottles at the rally participants. There were injuries on both sides, as the groups involved were hitting each other.

According to the Bali Express, about six people from PGN were injured and more than a dozen from the AMP.

The clash lasted a short time as the police, who were on standby nearby, broke up the demonstration.

AWPA’s Joe Collins said: “Yet again, a simple peaceful rally by West Papuans was forced to be disbanded by police because of an attack on the demonstrators by an Indonesian nationalist group, and Jakarta wonders why West Papuans want their freedom.”

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