Hundreds of Papuan Student Alliance Asked Papua's Independence last week - Photo: Privacy

JAKARTA (TheInsiderStories) – Indonesian National Police arrested 537 member of Papuan Students Alliances (PSA) after demonstrated for Papua’s freedom last week. The demonstrators demanded that the people of West Papua be given the right to self-determination as a solution to democracy and independence of Papua.

The peoples demonstrated in Papua, Kupang in East Nusa Tenggara, Ternate in North Maluku, Ambon in Maluku, Manado in North Sulawesi, Makassar in South Sulawesi, Surabaya in East Java, and in Jakarta.

The demonstration started on Saturday (12/01) morning across the archipelago. The demonstration held be in Jakarta, at PT Freeport Indonesia office, Indonesian Legal Aid Foundation Building, Dutch Embassy Office and United Nations Office.

Then, the action was intercepted by the other mobs from Army and police organizations. The mass urged that the PSA demonstration be dissolved because it had the potential to create a disintegration of national unity.

As the peak, was happened on Sunday (12/02) at around 1 a.m. western time, 233 demonstrator were taken by the police to the Surabaya Police Headquarters. Then, on Sunday afternoon at around 6 p.m., hundreds of mobs were returned to their respective cities by police escort.

The action was carried out to coincide with the commemoration of Dec. 1, 1961, West Papua’s independence day over the Netherlands. For the Papuan society, the date is an important moment in the Papuan struggle which continues to be celebrated every year.

1961 was the first time the West Papuan Parliament raised the Bintang Kejora flag in recognition of the sovereignty of the West Papuan state. From that date, the symbol of independence was raised throughout the West Papua region, until it was handed over to UNTEA in 1962 and joined the Indonesian government on May 1, 1963.

UNTEA (United Nations Temporary Executive Administration) handed over West Irian to Indonesia after a 1969 ballot people’s referendum. When the referendum of the People of Irian Jaya (Pepera) was held in 1969, the people in West Irian still wanted to be integrated into the Republic of Indonesia. However, the validity of the deals of the Act is still being debated up until this day.

The controversy began when a group’s mass organization in Surabaya took a counter-action. Some members of the mass organization pelted the PSA mass with stones, hit bamboo, and tried to push inside. As a result, 16 PSA people were injured, three of them suffered bleeding wounds from stone throws.

Researchers from the Institute for Criminal Justice Reform Genoveva Alicia assess, the detention of Papuan students can not be justified. The demo is not a plot. Because the action took place peacefully so there was no reason to arrest the students.

According to her, treason is an offense that is often used to reduce movements that are not in line with the government. The reason, is the simplification of the word “aanslag” in the Criminal Code of the Dutch heritage which was translated into treason and used until now. In fact, she said, the meaning of “aanslag” contained in the Criminal Code is more correctly interpreted as an attack, rather than treason.

She added, for an act to be said as treason, indeed there must be an act of attack that actually endangers the government.

Meanwhile, the Papuan community still clings to it’s past history. For them the commemoration of 1st December is celebrated to reveal the identity of Papuans indigenous so that they maintain relevance and cannot be separated from their history.

Yan Christian Warinussy, a human rights activist in Manokwari, Papua said that the National Police had denied the mandate of Article 28 of the 1945 Constitution concerning the Right to Freedom of Association and Association issued thoughts and writings in dealing with peaceful demonstrations of Papuan students and sympathizers.

“In the demonstrations, many people in Papua had to physical violence and were arrested and taken to the police station,” he said.

Written by Daniel Deha, Email: