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Police refute crackdown on demonstrators rallying against autonomy

Special Autonomy Demonstration

Timika, Papua (ANTARA) – The Indonesian police officers in Mimika District, Papua Province, dismissed claims of having cracked down on several youths rallying for discontinuation of the special autonomy status granted to Papua and West Papua.

“The allegations are completely groundless,” Head of the Mimika Police Precinct’s Criminal Investigation Unit Adjunct Sen. Coms. Hermanto stated in Timika, the capital of Mimika District, on Saturday, in connection with the rally staged on Sept 23.

Hermanto denied allegations by several individuals that the policemen had physically abused protesters while clarifying that the policemen, assisted by several military personnel, were instead attacked by them.

“They pelted stones at us at Perintis Street of Timika Indah. We have video footage as evidence,” he noted, adding that the police caught eight protesters, including five believed to have organized the protest.

They were identified as Andi Murib (25), a field coordinator and university student, Peuyoka Yeimo (28), Melvin Yogi (33) working as a farmer, Penehan Wanimpa (24), and Dolice Yaouwau (28).

However, the police had released them all, he confirmed.

The administration of Megawati Soekarnoputri had passed a law on special autonomy in the provinces of Papua and West Papua in 2001 to guarantee Papuans the right to manage their own region politically, economically, and culturally.

The law also stipulated the allotment of special autonomy funds, valid for a period of two decades.

As the transfer of funds will end in 2021, the House of Representatives has included the deliberation of Papua’s special autonomy status in this year’s National Legislation Program (Prolegnas) priority list.

A Papuan youth figure urged Papua’s groups to support the continuation of the special autonomy status granted to Papua and West Papua to guarantee sustainable development in all sectors of life in both provinces.

In conversation with ANTARA in Jayapura, the capital of Papua Province, on Aug 11, 2020, Tanus Komba opined that rejecting the continuation of the law on special autonomy (Otsus), passed in 2001, was not a solution.

Komba agreed to a deliberation on revising this special autonomy law rather than rejecting it on account of its crucial role in boosting regional development in public sectors, such as health, education, and infrastructure.

The Papuan youth figure asserted that the special autonomy status granted by the central government to Papuans mirrored Indonesia’s care for its people.

“We must be proud of it because only Papua and Aceh have been granted this privilege. Hence, we must support it,” Komba emphasized.

Special Autonomy Demonstration

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This Blog has gone through many obstacles and attacks from violent Free West Papua separatist supporters and ultra nationalist Indonesian since 2007. However, it has remained throughout a time devouring thoughts of how to bring peace to Papua and West Papua provinces of Indonesia.

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