Thousands of Papuans Rally to Demand Referendum

Thousands of Papuans Rally to Demand Referendum

Thousands of Papuans Rally to Demand Referendum Indonesia, News, Pacific, West Papua
May 5, 2011

Thousands of Papuans launched nationwide rallies to demand that Indonesian authorities agree to a referendum on the political future
of West Papua.

The peaceful May 2nd demonstrations were coordinated by the West Papua National Committee (KNPB) to commemorate the anniversary of Indonesia’s coerced annexation of West Papua more than four decades ago.

The demonstrations called for rejection of “Special Autonomy” and for international intervention in West Papua to end decades of human rights violations and injustice.

Rallies were reported in Sentani, Abepura and Jayapura, as well as Manokwari, Wamena and other West Papua towns and cities.

In Abepura, there was a mass sit-in, where open platform speeches were made by participants, and a joint petition was signed. According to Victor Yeimo, International Spokesperson for KNPB, the rally was held to demonstrate to the Indonesian and international community that the people of West Papua want self-determination thought a referendum.

Benny Wenda, a West Papuan leader in exile, spoke directly from London via mobile to the thousands of people at the rally.

Meanwhile, Indonesian security forces reportedly ramped up security in many West Papua population centers.

Reliable accounts claim that six Papuans, including a ten year old boy were arrested by security personnel in Wamena before the protest.

from the West Papua Report May 2011
The West Papua Report is produced by the non-profit West Papua Advocacy Team (WPAT) drawing on media accounts, other NGO assessments, and analysis and reporting from sources within West Papua. This report is co-published with the East Timor and Indonesia Action Network (ETAN).

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