West Papua: More arrests at KNPB rally

July 12, 2023
West Papua
Indonesian security forces cracked down on West Papuan demonstrators in Jayapura on July 12. Photo: KNPB Sentani/Facebook

Indonesian security forces violently cracked down on a peaceful West Papuan National Congress (KNPB) demonstration on July 12, called to show support for West Papua's application to become a full member of the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG).

A number of demonstrators were arrested and others beaten including a 15 year old who was hit in the head with a rifle butt. The number arrested is not clear, according to the Australia West Papua Association (AWPA).

Items such as KNPB banners and flags were also confiscated.

Those arrested have been taken to the Jayapura police station. The KNPB called on “all parties” via social media “to monitor and advocate in the course of the interrogation process that is being carried out by the Republic of Indonesia Police”.

The AWPA earlier condemned the arrests of KNPB activists as they were handing out leaflets promoting the demonstration.

AWPA spokesperson Joe Collins told Green Left he hoped the demonstration would be allowed to go ahead peacefully and there would not be a repeat of the brutal crackdowns that occurred at other peaceful rallies in the past.

AWPA is calling on the Australian government not to turn a blind eye to the crackdown.

“It's time for Canberra to stop pretending there is not a problem in West Papua and start raising concerns about the human rights abuses committed by the Indonesian security forces with Jakarta,” Collins said.

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