Jakarta ‘regrets’ Morning Star flag protest at Melbourne consulate after video goes viral

West Papua protest in Melbourne
Five protesters scale the walls of the Indonesian consulate in Melbourne and raise the Morning Star flag of the West Papuan independence movement with banners reading: "TNI [military] OUT: Stop Killing Papuans & FREE WEST PAPUA”. Image: Still from Twitter video feed/Tim Buchanan

Pacific Media Centre newsdesk

Indonesia’s Presidential Staff Office says it regrets the raising of the Morning Star flag – which is identified with Papuan independence – at the Indonesian Consulate General (KJRI) in Melbourne, Australia, this week.

Presidential Staff Office deputy for political, legal, security and human rights affairs Jaleswari Pramowardhani insisted that the area in and around the consulate must be respected.

Pramowardhani pointed to the stipulations in the Geneva Convention on respect for foreign consulates and international legal customs.

“The host country, in this case Australia, has an obligation based on international law to maintain security in the area of the Consulate General of the Republic of Indonesia,” said Pramowardhani.

“Above all breaking in or infiltrating without authorisation. So the incident which occurred at the Melbourne KJRI cannot be justified and conflicts with international law,” she added.

Earlier on Tuesday, December 1, a video of the Morning Star flag flying over the Melbourne consulate went viral on Twitter. The owner of the Twitter account @Tbuch2, Tim Buchanan, shared a video of six people standing on the Melbourne consulate’s roof.

Two of them were holding a banner with a picture of the Morning Star flag with the message “Free West Papua”, while four others held a Morning Star flag and a poster with the message, “TNI [Indonesian military] Out, Stop Killing Papua”.

Officials grappled with the protesters trying to prevent the flags and banner being unfurled.

Pramowardhani has asked the Australian government to take a “firmer stand” so that a similar incident does not reoccur.

This is not the first incident of its kind. In 2017, a Free Papua Organisation (OPM) sympathiser also managed to climb the wall surrounding the Melbourne Indonesian consulate and raise the Morning Star flag.

Translated by James Balowski for IndoLeft News. The original title of the article was
“Bintang Kejora Berkibar di KJRI, KSP Sesalkan Sikap Australia”.

Bintang Kejora
Papuan protesters for independence sing Bintang Kejora. Image: CNN Indonesia
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