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Nationalist group attempts to disrupt Papuan independence rally in Jakarta

CNN Indonesia - August 2, 2018

Kustin Ayuwuragil, Jakarta – A group called the NKRI Volunteers (Relawan NKRI) attempted to disrupt an action by the Papuan Student Alliance (AMP) and the Indonesian People's Front for West Papua (FRI-WP) in front of the State Palace on Thursday August 2.

The group, which arrived not long after members of the AMP and FRI-WP began giving speeches in front of the State Palace, intended to forcibly break up the action supporting independence for West Papua.

"NKRI [the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia] is non-negotiable!" shouted the group trying to compete with the megaphone being used by the FRI-WP and AMP.

The group considered that the speeches being given by their rivals were not based on evidence and were lies. Because of this therefore, they wanted the action to be halted immediately.

"Expel them now! These are historical lies", cried one of the group's members as they tried to force their way into the crowd of AMP protesters.

The police, which were watching over the action, immediately moved to separate the two groups trying to placate the Relawan NKRI by inviting them to take shelter at a security post.

When interviewed by CNN Indonesia, the group, which numbered around eight people, was reluctant to answer questions and said only that "We are Papuans".

Based on CNN Indonesia's observations at the rally, the number of protesters taking part in the AMP and FRI-WP action grew to around 30 or so people. The speeches also took up the exploitation of Papua's natural wealth by companies such as PT Freeport Indonesia and the like.

The protest action was held to commemorate 49 years since the Act of Free Choice or Pepera which was held in 1969. (arh/gil)


Pepera – Known as the "Act of Free Choice", in 1969 a referendum was held to decide whether West Papua, a former Dutch colony annexed by Indonesia in 1963, would be become independent or join Indonesia. The UN sanction plebiscite, in which 1,025 hand-picked tribal leaders allegedly expressed their desire for integration, has been widely dismissed as a sham. Critics claim that that the selected voters were coerced, threatened and closely scrutinized by the military to unanimously vote for integration.

[Translated by James Balowski for the Indoleft News Service. The original title of the article was Massa 'Relawan NKRI' Ganggu Aksi Pembebasan Papua Barat.]

Source: https://www.cnnindonesia.com/nasional/20180802141632-20-318956/massa-relawan-nkri-ganggu-aksi-pembebasan-papua-barat.

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