Protester critically injured by rubber bullet, 7 arrested in protest over West Papua carve up

Indonesian police forcibly break up a rally in Waena
Indonesian police forcibly break up a rally in Waena against the creation of new Papua provinces on Tuesday. Image: IndoLeft News/Jubi

Asia Pacific Report newsdesk

Papua Legal Aid Foundation (LBH) director Emanuel Gobay says a participant of a demonstration in Jayapura opposing the creation of new autonomous regions (DOB) in Papua is in a critical condition after being shot by a rubber bullet allegedly fired by a police officer.

Earlier, police forcibly broke up a demonstration opposing new autonomous regions in Papua.

“Yes [the critical injury] was at an action in Waena,” said Gobay when contacted by CNN Indonesia.

Although Gobay said he did not know the exact chronology of events leading up to the shooting, he confirmed that the victim was taking part in an action in front of Mega Waena department store in Jayapura.

“So right when they arrived in front of Mega Waena [the protest] was forcibly broken up, it was at this time that police used rubber bullets and the like. When a rubber bullet was fired it hit one of the protesters,” he said.

According to Gobay, the victim was immediately taken to a Mimika boarding house for treatment by students. He did not have any further information on the victim’s condition.

Gobay added that aside from the person shot by a rubber bullet, another participant suffered injuries after being assaulted by police.

Kicked in the chest
He said the victim was kicked in the chest by a police officer.

“This person ended up unconscious, then they were picked up and taken to the boarding house. Earlier I managed to meet with them, they complained that their chest still hurt because of being kicked. There were several others who were injured,” said Gobay.

Demonstrations against the creation of new autonomous regions and Special Autonomy (Otsus) in several parts of Jayapura were forcibly broken up by police on Tuesday.

One incident, in which police forcibly broke up a peaceful action using a water cannon, was recorded on video and shared on Twitter by Papuan People’s Petition (PRP) spokesperson Jeffry Wenda.

At least seven people were arrested by police during the action, including Wenda, West Papua National Committee (KNPB) spokesperson Ones Suhuniap and Omizon Balingga.

Police have yet to provide detailed information on the person shot by the rubber bullet.

So far they have only announced that they sized a number of pieces of evidence in the form of sharp weapons and materials with the banned Morning Star independence flag motif on them, which were confiscated during a sweep of demonstrators in the Sentani area of Jayapura regency.

Translated by James Balowski for IndoLeft News. The original title of the article was Satu Peserta Demo Tolak DOB Papua Tertembak Peluru Karet.

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