Several thousand people crammed the grave site of murdered independence hero Ondofolo Theys Eluay on March 7, to hear resolutions from the Pacific regional Feb 29 launch in Canberra of the International Parliamentarians for West Papua (IPWP).
Organised by the West Papua National Committee (KNPB), the gathering passed without hindrance by security forces, despite reports from participants that several heavily armed units of the Indonesian army and police were shadowing the mass of demonstrators as they conducted a converging Long March from the Waena UNCEN student dormitories, Abepura, Kotaraja, Kamkey and surrounding areas.
The gravesite of the revered Chief, the former Papuan Presidium leader assassinated by Indonesian Kopassus officers in 2001, is the traditional site for mass rallies for self-determination in West Papua, guaranteed access to the land in perpetuity by the family of Theys Eluay.
Indonesian-owned businesses and commercial development is gradually surrounding the gravesite amidst a perceived strategy by Indonesian authorities to block access to what has become a sacred site to West Papuan people.
The Voice of Papua independent media reported KNPB spokesman Buchtar Tabuni telling the gathered crowd that:
“All the people of Papua and Papuan students in Australia have joined in the launch event in Australia for IPWP-Pacific, and have come to talk about self-determination for the people of West Papua.”
“Whatever the risks, we are the children of West Papua, [we] would [risk] ourselves to this struggle. This is how it is in our land of West Papua.”