On Monday (September 24, 2018) news circulated that there was a dismissal of demonstrations in support of Vanuatu and Asia Pacific countries to bring the issue of West Papua’s independence to the United Nations General Assembly. This demonstration was carried out by 67 students from various universities in Papua at three points. These demonstrants were arrested because they didn’t have STTP (Surat Tanda Terima Pemberitahuan or Notification Receipt) of demonstration activity from the police.
ULMWP Action Committee Secretary, Crido Dogopia, claimed that a beating occurred to one of the demonstrators. However, Papua Regional Police Chief, Inspector General Martuani Somin denied the beating accusation. “None of our members committed violence against protesters. They are only asked for information and tonight will be sent home,” he said.
The demonstration was initiated by the United Liberation Movement of West Papua (ULMWP); an organization that supports Papua’s separation from Indonesian sovereignty. This action was not the first time conducted by ULMWP. This organization initiated several similar actions in September and all were dismissed by the police because of the same problem, namely the absence of demonstration permits.
Dissolution and arrest of demonstrators occurred at three gathering points. First at the EKSPO-Waena Taxi Round. At this first point, the police and the mass negotiated and finally the demonstrators were transported to the Jayapura Resort Police Station. The second point is on the Jayapura Science and Technology University (USTJ) yard. The police arrested the demonstrators who were then taken to the Jayapura Resort Police Station as well. The third dismissal occurred in front of the Abepura Post Office. The crowd marched from the front of Jayapura State 1 High School to the post office and then made orations. The police immediately stopped the demonstrators and took them to the office.
Responding to this arrest, ULMWP again raised the issue regarding the suppression of freedom of expression in Papua. However, Inspector General Martuani Somin once again said that these demonstrations did not filled the requirements needed. Not only in Papua, in all parts of Indonesia, citizens cannot just carry out demonstrations. There are procedures that must be obeyed. Indonesia regulates the procedures for demonstration in Indonesia National Police Chief Regulation No. 9 of 2008 concerning the Implementation of Services, Safeguards and Handling of Cases for Submitting Public Opinions. In the regulation, the conditions for demonstration stated that the person in charge must notify the police at the latest 3×24 hours before the activity starts.