Promoting peace for protest-hit Papua

Hundreds of people attended the Yospan Papua cultural event at the Hotel Indonesia roundabout in Jakarta yesterday to promote peace in Indonesia's Papua region, following riots and demonstrations since the middle of last month, with buildings torched
PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Hundreds of people attended the Yospan Papua cultural event at the Hotel Indonesia roundabout in Jakarta yesterday to promote peace in Indonesia's Papua region, following riots and demonstrations since the middle of last month, with buildings torched and street battles between the police and protesters.

The anti-government protests were triggered by the arrest of dozens of Papuan students by security forces on the main Indonesian island of Java.

Papuan police spokesman Ahmad Kamal said yesterday that the police have arrested 28 people, who have been named as suspects, over a protest in Papua's provincial capital of Jayapura last Thursday.

The rioters set cars and buildings ablaze, including a local Parliament office and a building housing the offices of a state-controlled telco.

Meanwhile, in Jakarta, two students suspected of crimes against state security have been arrested, the police said in a statement last Saturday. The evidence against them included their mobile phones, as well as a shirt and a shawl emblazoned with the "Morning Star" flag pattern, a banned symbol of Papuan nationhood.

The mainly Melanesian Papua and West Papua provinces make up the Indonesian half of New Guinea island.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 02, 2019, with the headline 'Promoting peace for protest-hit Papua'. Print Edition | Subscribe