Thousands Turn Out In West Papua Protest


As the rest of the world fixated on the news that Osama bin Laden had been killed in a covert US operation, thousands of West Papuans took to the streets of Jayapura on Monday to demand a referendum on self-determination.

Protestors weaved their way through the capital’s suburbs, playing music and carrying placards which read "Papua yes, Indonesia no" and "Papua Merdeka". Along the way, speeches highlighted the plight of political prisoners such as Filep Karma, who is serving a 15-year jail sentence for raising the West Papuan flag, and Buchtar Tabuni.

The crowd, which included university students and schoolchildren, attracted the close attention of security forces, including five or six detachments of police and three units of mobile police, according to organisers. But the day-long demonstration — including a sit-in that disrupted traffic in the suburb of Abepura — went off peacefully.

The Indonesian Government restricts foreign media from reporting from West Papua. These photos were provided by local stringers for the web-based organisation, West Papua Media.

Protestors take to the streets of Jayapura. Photo: West Papua Media



Photo: West Papua Media


Marchers are accompanied by members of the indigenous community security force, PETAPA. Photo: West Papua Media


"Papuan people reject the Red and White; Papuan people embrace the Morning Star." Photo: West Papua Media


Photo: West Papua Media



The street marchers arrive in the suburb of Abepura. Photo: West Papua Media


Photo: West Papua Media



Protestors show support for West Papuan political prisoners Filep Karma and Buchtar Tabuni. Photo: West Papua Media


Riot police arrived with a water cannon, which was not used on the day. Photo: West Papua Media


Students help to safely disperse participants after the rally by taking them home in truck convoys, to prevent security forces picking off protestors. Photo: West Papua Media


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