Reports of threats by Indonesia against “Free West Papua” activists have come to light on the anniversary of the first raising of West Papua’s emblem of independence.
“The security level is increased, they send direct threats, phone calls or SMS and in the past three days many of our West Papuan activists have [had] phone messages, propaganda messages,” says Canberra-based Free West Papua activist and musician Ronny Ato Buai Kareni.
December 1, 2022, marks 61 years since the first raising of West Papua’s symbol of independence, the Morning Star flag.
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“The Morning Star flag brings a lot of emotions, it is about honouring those who have fought and died, assassinated in the name of that Morning Star flag. It is also a symbol of resistance and hope that West Papua will be free one day,” Kareni said.
In previous years, the Indonesian military and police have responded with increased violent oppression around this day, arresting and killing those they perceive as pro-independence activists in West Papua, a spokesperson from Peace Movement Aotearoa said.
The flag has been raised in solidarity with freeing West Papua from occupation by Indonesia, at events around the world.
“Seeing the young Papuans coming out today, it’s heartening,” Kareni said.
Events have been held across the Pacific, Aotearoa and Australia.
Decolonisation MOU signed
A memorandum of understanding has been signed by youth and elders fighting for decolonisation in the Pacific.