self-determination

Capitulation to the Spanish state has blown apart Catalonia's pro-independence alliance and forced an early election, writes Dick Nichols from Barcelona.

Surya Anta Ginting, the national spokesperson for the pro-independence Indonesian People's Front for West Papua — who along with five other Papuan activists is being held in Jakarta's notorious Salemba prison awaiting trial on treason charges — is reportedly seriously ill.

Anta's wife Lucia Fransisca told reporters that she visited him on November 29 and found that he and the other five Papuan detainees were ill and were not receiving proper medical treatment.

West Papuans and their supporters around the world traditionally raise the Morning Star flag — the symbol of an independent Papua — on December 1. This is an act of defiance, as flying the flag is outlawed by the occupying Indonesian government.

New Zealand-based West Papua solidarity activist and author Maire Leadbeater looks the new uprising in West Papua and the repression being carried out by Indonesian security forces while governments, including NZ’s, remain silent.

The final act in a week of protest in Catalonia, against the vindictive jail terms imposed on nine Catalan leaders by the Spanish Supreme Court on October 14, was a general strike and vast demonstration in the capital, Barcelona.

Infuriated by the verdict, frustrated with the strategy of the established independence movement (seen as “getting nowhere”), and most of all, outraged by police violence, young Catalans, who had never been on a barricade in their lives, decided that “direct action” was the only solution, writes Dick Nichols.

The gap between the 75%–80% of Catalans who uphold their country’s right to self-determination, and the Spanish elites and parts of Spanish society that do not want to know anything about it, was already very wide before October 14.

But on that day, when the Spanish Supreme Court condemned nine Catalan political and social movement leaders to a total of 99.5 years jail, it most likely became unbridgeable, writes Dick Nichols from Barcelona.

The recent uprising in West Papua was sparked by racist attacks on Papuan students in the Indonesian city of Surabaya. However, the West Papuan people have been struggling for more than 60 years against Indonesian occupation, human rights violations and for the right to self determination.

Indonesian occupation has led to human rights abuses, disappearances, kidnappings, extrajudicial killings, forced displacement and the death of an estimated 500,000 Papuans.

A rally for a Free West Papua was held in Melbourne on September 14.

Occupying the Plaça d’Espanya and surrounding streets on September 11, 600,000 people came out in Barcelona to celebrate Catalan National Day (the Diada).

The vast crowd demanded the acquittal of jailed Catalan social movement and political leaders, presently awaiting a Spanish Supreme Court verdict on charges of rebellion, sedition and embezzlement.

The decades-long struggle of the West Papuan people for self-determination has intensified in recent months — and Australia’s role in aiding and abetting the Indonesian occupation is once again being brought under international scrutiny.

Tecber Ahmed Saleh, a health worker for the Ministry of Health of the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic (Western Sahara), is touring Australia, advocating for international recognition of her country. She spoke to Tony Iltis.

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