Media Statement, 3 December 2018
Jakarta’s worst nightmare: Indonesians raise Morning Star flag across the republic on 1 December
Indonesian security forces appeared bewildered by the number of Morning Star flag-raisings by Indonesians in Indonesia on Saturday 1 December, commemorating—with a bourgeoning coalition of communities across the globe—the milestone event in the Papuan self-determination process when the Netherlands Government and the West New Guinea Council first raised the iconic independence flag fifty-seven years ago .
Indonesian Peoples Front for West Papua (FRI-WP) held rallies in major Indonesian towns and cities, including Makassar (South Sulawesi), Manado (North Sulawesi), Kupang (West Timor), Ternate and Tobelo (North Maluku), Ambon (Maluku), Tual (South Maluku), Surabaya (East Java), Bandung (West Java) and Jakarta .
As usual, the brittle republic’s security was out in force—arresting 595 activists, 102 of them in West Papua. Police however were comically undone by an assembly of women in the tiny sultanate of Ternatae who demanded that police arrest not one but all of them. Video-footage shows the women link arms; one commander warning his colleagues ‘Be careful, the journalists are coming’; another crying ‘Only one of you to take responsibility; we only need one, not all of you’; another, sweating profusely, grunts ‘Fuck the OPM’ as yet another scarfed woman clambers across his gun-decked torso into the back of the army truck.
Also as usual, the government permitted security forces to organise radical militia groups to intimidate and terrorise activists, with Pancasila Youth and Islamic Defender Front even more rapacious after weeks of debate between Muslim leaders split between Jokowi and Prabowo in the upcoming presidential elections.
Also as usual, the state’s security forces were well-prepared in West Papua, with extra battalions flown to the far-flung province to deal with activists in Jayapura, Manokwari, Timika, Wamena, Biak, Merauke, Sorong, Fak-fak, Bentuni, Serui, Waropen, and the West Papua Liberation Army/TPN-OPM. Arrests in West Papua include: Jayapura City (41); Jayapura Regency (44); Asmat District (10); Serui (7); Waropen (3). Arrests in Indonesia include Kupang (18); Ternate (99); Ambon (43); Mandao (27); Makassar (24); Surabaya (233).
1 December is now recognised around the globe as West Papua National Day and a significant rally date across Melanesia-Pacific, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain, Kenya; as well as Oxford (UK), Paris (France), Johannesberg (South Africa), Berkeley (USA), Manila (Philippines); in Australia (where numerous city and regional councils fly the flag) and in New Zealand (including the Maori Takaparawha at Bastion Point). The United West Papua Liberation Movement claims that since it joined the international community through its membership of the Melanesian Spearhead Group in 2015, twenty-thousand Papuan and Non-Papuan independence supporters have been incarcerated.
Spokesperson, United Liberation Movement for West Papua
Note 1 The self-determination process began eleven years earlier, in December 1950, when the Netherlands registered West Papua with the United Nations (UNGA 448) as a Non-Self-Governing Territory.
Note 2 Front Rakyat Indonesia Untuk West Papua/FRI-WP.