Bintuni Bay District Police dismissed a community course action on behalf of the Customary Procession and the Church (Prosesi Adat dan Gereja) bringing the attributes of Organisasi Papua Merdeka (Free Papua Organisation) on Saturday (September 8, 2018) at 08.00 East Indonesia Time (EIT; GMT+9). Bintuni Bay District Police arrested 36 sympathizers of the action to be questioned at the Bintuni Police Headquarter. They were sent home at night.
Bintuni Police Chief, AKBP (Ajun Komisaris Besar Polisi or Adjunct Police Chief Commissioner) Andriano Ananta explained that the dismissal was carried out by the authorities because of the mass carrying Bintang Kejora flags (literally means Morning Star, the symbol of Free Papua) and a number of separatists accessories. Another reason is that according to the Bintuni Bay Police Chief, the action did not have a crowd/demonstration permit from the police. “There is no permit,” Ananta said.
As many as 36 sympathizers took on foot procession while singing Christian Praise from Kali Tube (Tube River) to Tahiti Bintuni Square.
The act was carried out while raising Bintang Kejora flag, held by Bernad Mansumbauw and four others carried a box called the Ark of the Covenant.
At around 9:20 a.m. (GMT+9), located at Jalan Raya Bintuni (half way of the procession), the action was stopped and dismissed by the members of Bintuni Sub-Brimob 4 (Sub Mobile Brigade Corps), led by Head of Sub-Detachment IPDA (Inspektur Dua Polisi or Second Police Inspector) Nuryakob, then arrested by the members of Bintuni Bay Police led by AKBP Andriano Ananta, SIK. The authorities secured the perpetrators and sympathizers of the procession to be questioned at the Bintuni Police Headquarters.
The dismissal happened because the activity does not have crowd/demonstration permit from the Bintuni Bay Police Station and if the activity coordinator took care of the permission, then the Police can also regulate what can be used in the action and what should not be used in the action of community activities.
The participants of this procession that were arrested for questioning included:
Torembi Deminitus, Peres Wekaburi, Oscar Trorba, Daniel Torembi, Demianus Wekaburi, Carlos Rimbay Geizler, Victor Makamuke, Nikolaus Wekaburi, Beni Kendiwara, Tika Wekaburi, Yoke Maidepa, Flora Paratoy, Cristina Paratoy, Josua Kendiwara, Beni Kambuaya, Alfred Torembi, Jonias Iba, Max Dimara, Aris Turob, David Suaberaro (field coordinator), Viktor Makamuke, Agustinus Kutumun, Naftali Torirembi, Soni Torembi, Bertus Kandami, Daud Mansumbauw, Demi Kambuaya, Abner Mambrasar, Yulian Paratoi, Eko Idorway, Elisa Beyete, Glen Mofu, Yunias Iba, Aser Paratoi, Yohanes Mansumbauw, Wiliam Nuburi.
Planned Action Utilized by Separatist Group
The activity in the name of Customary Procession and Church Action indicated to have been prepared/planned in advance. Based on additional information obtained later, the Morning Star flag had been raised for three days (August 30-September 1, 2018) in Yansey Village, Idor District, Bintuni Bay Region. The flag was then taken down to be used in the procession in Bintuni.
Based on evidence from one of the sympathizers on Whatsapp messages, the purpose of the activity was to get support from the Asia Pacific countries on the Pacific Island Forum to fight for the Independence of Papua (Free Papua Organization).
This act was organized carefully in secret. Yansey Village in Idor District was chosen because it is located in remote area, far from the local government’s attention. The only way to reach the village is by using one sea transportation with unclear departure schedule.
This activity can threaten the stability of the country’s security by generating separatist groups in support of the Action to Fight for Free Papua (Free Papua Organization).
Dialogue with the Regent and Local Leaders
The participants was sent home at night after being questioned by the local police and a meeting was held with the Regent of Teluk Bintuni (Ir. Petrus Kasihiw), Chairperson of the Regional Representative Assembly of Bintuni Bay, Chairperson of the Wamesa LMA, Police Chief, Deputy Police Chief of Bintuni Bay, Bintuni Military Command, and TNI Navy Bintuni Post, Danki 4 Satbrimob Polda PB, and the Police Chief of Bintuni.
The Regent of Bintuni Bay gave direction for the community to express their aspirations in the right way without the need to violate the established law. Ir. Petrus Kasihiw has also guarantees all of the citizen so they can come home safely.
“…And as the Police Chief has said that there will be no permanent arrest for the previous activity and for you to return to your home safely; and that every aspiration you need deliver to the government should not violate law in the future so it will not worsen the situation and make you all subjected to criminal charges. If indeed you want to go home tomorrow, we will aid you to get back home and if there is still aspirations that have not been conveyed, I will wait for them,” Ir. Petrus Kasihiw said.
The Bintuni Bay Police Chief conveyed a mutual agreement, which said that any aspirations or activity regarding conveying aspirations should be submitted or reported to the Indonesian Police so that the Police can issue a permit and can help to secure and monitor the said activity. It is forbidden to bring attributes and symbols that are prohibited by the government in the name of conveying aspirations using customary and religion.
“We will return the examined items that are proven of not violating the law. There are also a lot of news circulated outside saying that you are persecuted and beaten by the police. However, you have seen the facts that there are none of you suffer from police violence. So, let us counter this false news together so that there will be no more problem later on,” AKBP Andriano Ananta stated.
The activity coordinator, David Suaberaro and his colleagues who carried out the demonstration also declared that the news of the beating and intimidation by the Bintuni Bay Police, which was disseminated by separatist groups on social media was hoax and false. It was merely to take advantage of the situation.
At 00.30 a.m. (GMT+9), the Indonesian Police, the Regional Representative Assembly of Bintuni Bay, Customary Leaders and all demonstrators were dismissed to return to their homes in a safe and conducive condition.