West Papua rally: ‘We want to be free people!’

The crowd in Jayapura, West Papua. They marched in full support of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua and Pacific Islands Coalition on West Papua to bring West Papua in to the UN decolonisation committee. Image:Free West Papua Campaign

Thousands of people have rallied across West Papua this week demanding independence and their right to self-determination.

The Free West Papua Campaign (FWPC) stated those that took part in the peaceful demonstrations marched with a clear message: “We want to be free people”.

Benny Wenda is the international spokesman for the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP), and founder of the Free West Papua Campaign. He was granted political asylum by the British government in 2003. Image: Benny Wenda

People of West Papua are calling on the United Nations to support their fundamental right to self-determination and a resolution for an internationally supervised vote for independence.

FWPC reported that some demonstrations around the country were blocked by the Indonesian police and 68 peaceful protestors were arrested in Merauke, West Papua.

A day before the demonstrations 21 women, men and children were arrested for distributing leaflets for the rally. More details here.

‘Forgotten struggle’
Last week West Papuan leader Benny Wenda, who lives exiled in London, was interviewed by TeleSUR on ‘West Papua’s forgotten struggle for independence’.

In the interview Wenda said people in West Papua sacrifice their lives by protesting and Indonesia continues to get away with “impunity”.

“Indonesia is able to massacre my people. Almost 500,000 men and women have been killed. While I’m speaking, there are arrests and intimidations and imprisonments still going on in West Papua,” Wenda said.

He said the Indonesian government has banned journalists from entering the country for the past 50-years which is part of the reason West Papua’s struggle remains largely unknown.

West Papuans are left to turn to social media to get their struggle out to the world.

“I am really confident that people in the Pacific, particularly across the Micronesia, Polynesia and Melanesia, the governments and the ordinary people are in support, including New Zealand and Australia. Ordinary people are always with us.”

TeleSUR full interview.

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