Three dead, five wounded in Papua protest violence in Indonesia

Students participate in a rally in Bandung, West Java, on Tuesday to protest racism against Papuans and call on the government to arrest those involved in besieging a dormitory occupied by Papuan student in Surabaya, East Java, nearly two weeks ago. (Antara Photo/Raisan Al Farisi). Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

JAKARTA, Aug 29, 2019, Jakarta Globe. Two civilians and a soldier were killed and five members of the security forces injured when a protest turned violent in Deiyai district, Papua, on Wednesday, reported the Jakarta Globe.

A large group of protesters attacked members of the police and military guarding the Deiyai district office with poisoned arrows and machetes, officials told the Jakarta Globe.

According to Lt. Col. Eko Daryanto, spokesman for the Cendrawasih Military Command, the rally took place in front of the district office to protest the widely reported incidents of racism against Papuan students in Semarang in Central Java and Surabaya and Malang in East Java nearly two weeks ago.

“There were about a thousand people gathered in front of the district office. They became unruly when the district head refused to comply with their demands,” Eko said, adding that the protestors next attacked the soldiers and police officers guarding the office.

“There are six victims; three from the military and three from the police. One soldier died,” Eko said.

He explained that the soldier died after he was wounded with a machete and shot in the head with an arrow.

Eko said the situation was brought under control after about an hour. The wounded soldiers and police officers were taken to a nearby hospital for emergency treatment and to wait for an aircraft to evacuate them to Nabire district.

National Police spokesman Brig. Gen. Dedi Prasetyo confirmed that Wednesday’s incident was connected to the earlier events in Central and East Java. He said the mob tried to force the Deiyai district head to sign a petition supporting an independence referendum for Papua.

A series of rallies took place in various cities in Papua and West Papua following the incidents in Central and East Java. Rallies in Manokwari and Sorong in West Papua on Aug. 19 turned violent, with protesters damaging public facilities and government buildings. Solidarity rallies also took place in Jakarta and Bandung, West Java.

Some protestors carried the banned Morning Star flag of the Papuan separatist movement during the rallies. In a seperate rally in Sorong on Tuesday, protestors handed the Indonesian national flag to the district head and called for a referendum.

The Ministry of Communication and Information Technology has been restricting internet access in Papua and West Papua since last week to prevent the spread of provocative material.

Local news portals and earlier reported that six civilians had been killed in the clash. However, state-run Antara reported on Wednesday evening that only two civilians had been killed.

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