Indonesian police block planned Papuan student protest in Yogya

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Indonesian police blockade a planned student demonstration in Yogyakarta. Image: Aliansi Mahasiswa Papua

By Yuliawati in Jakarta

Scores of Indonesian police blocked Papuan students in the Central Java city of Yogyakarta who planned to hold a demonstration on Friday.

Around 70 or so students were prevented from leaving the Kamasan student dormitory on Jl. Kusumanegara, Yogyakarta.

“Police have been on guard in front of the dormitory since 9.30am and have prevented us from leaving the dormitory,” said Papua Student Alliance (AMP) chairperson Abi Douw when contacted by CNN Indonesia.

The students, who planned to hold a demonstration, fought back and as a result a scuffle broke out between police and students. Several students suffered minor injuries to the knees, forehead and arms.

The students, who came from several different organisations such as the AMP, the Student Forum for the Papuan People and the Indonesian People’s Front for West Papua (FRI-West Papua), had planned to hold a solidarity action over violence in recent days against people in Dogiyai regency in the West Papuan central highlands.

Similar solidarity actions were held in various other cities around the country.

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“We are demanding [an end] to security sweeps against the people of Dogiyai which have resulted in deaths, we demand that the joint security forces leave the area,” said Abi.

Security sweeps leave four dead
The security sweeps in Dogiyai have left four people dead and 15 injured after they were shot by security personnel.

Abi said that they had already asked for police to agree to the planned solidarity action a day earlier. “We provided [police] with a notification and they provided a record of it,” he said.

Police however blocked the action, said Abi, on the grounds that President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo was currently visiting Yogyakarta.

Widodo was in Yogyakarta to attend a ceremony to break ground on the construction of a new international airport in Kulon Progo regency.

“The police said that the reason for blocking our action was because President Jokowi would be here,” said Abi.

Yuliawati is a journalist reporting for CNN Indonesia in Jakarta. Translated from the Bahasa by James Balowski for the Indoleft News Service. The original title of the report was “Jokowi Kunjungi Yogya, Mahasiswa Papua ‘Terkurung’ di Asrama”.

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