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Papuan independence protest to go ahead 'peacefully' despite police permit refusal

CNN Indonesia - August 2, 2018

Ihsan Dalimunthe, Jakarta – Actions commemorating 49 years since the Papuan "Act of Free Choice (Pepera) in 1969 will be held at several different locations, one of which was in front of the State Palace in Central Jakarta on Thursday August 2.

The action, which will begin at 11am, will be held by the Indonesian People's Front for West Papua (FRI-WP) and the Papuan Student Alliance (AMP).

AMP Jakarta organisational bureau head Gideon M Adii said that police refused to issue a permit for the action which is to take place in front of President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo's office.

"The permit for the action was refused, but this will not be a benchmark. Regardless of the situation we will still take to the streets", Gideon told CNN Indonesia on Thursday.

Guideon also confirmed that the action, which will be joined by more than 50 people, will proceed peacefully. He also called on all parties not to be concerned that the action would create a disturbance or traffic congestion in front of the Palace.

"We will be conveying [our demands] peacefully", said Gideon.

According to Gideon, they will be conveying nine points in the action. The most important of these is that the central government must immediately acknowledge that West Papua has the right to self-determination and independence.

Gideon again asserted that if the referendum or 'Act of Free Choice' (Pepera) held in 1969 which resulted in West Papua's incorporation into Indonesia was ridden with manipulation and intimidation by the Indonesian military or ABRI as they were then called.

In addition to the Jakarta action, a similar action will be held in London to support holding another referendum for the Papuan people.

The London action is being organised by the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP). In his Facebook account, ULMWP spokesperson Benny Wenda stated that the action would be held at Parliament Square in London.

Wenda stated that a referendum for independence is a concrete choice for the people of West Papua.

"1.8 million people in West Papua have called for a referendum of self-determination. A vote for independence which was overseen internationally", said Wenda.

Wenda again emphasised that independence is a free choice that is real for the people of West Papua.

He has been promoting the hashtag #LetWestPapuaVote and openly inviting other Facebook users to join. As of submitting this report, there were eight Facebook users who stated that they would take part and 63 who said they were interested.


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 Tanpa Izin Polisi, Aksi Referendum Papua Diklaim Tetap Damai.]

Source: https://www.cnnindonesia.com/nasional/20180802090237-20-318859/tanpa-izin-polisi-aksi-referendum-papua-diklaim-tetap-damai.

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