Indonesian and Papuan protesters call for ‘Palestine independence’

GERAK Palestina protesters march through Yogyakarta's shopping district
GERAK Palestine protesters march through Yogyakarta's shopping district last week. Image: Arah Juang

Asia Pacific Report

Several democratic, progressive and socialist organisations in Indonesia and in the Melanesian region of West Papua have come together in solidarity with Palestine and formed an alliance called the People’s Movement for Palestinian Independence (GERAK Palestine).

In a statement released by GERAK Palestine, the group declared full support for the Palestinian people to resist oppression and for their right to the return to their land, reports Arah Juang.

GERAK Palestine has also demanded an end to all aggression and an end to Israel’s war on Gaza that has killed more than 26,000 people so far — mainly women and children — and attacks on the West Bank with the arrest and imprisonment of Palestinian people.

The movement also wants the Indonesian government to cut all indirect diplomatic, economic and political ties with Israel and Zionist entities. It has also called for a “secular, democratic, just and independent Palestine”.

The alliance has held many actions in several Indonesian cities, but only gave details  on those in November in its statement.

On Sunday, November 19, in Bojonegoro, East Java, the Socialist Youth League (LPS) joined GERAK Palestine to organise a campaign in solidarity with the Palestinian people.

A stall was opened in front of the Bojonegoro regency government offices on Car Free Day and leaflets and stickers were distributed with banners being displayed demanding “One State and an Independent Palestine”.

Papuan students
In the South Sulawesi provincial capital of Makassar, the Student Struggle Center for National Liberation (PPMPN), the Indonesian Student Union (SMI), the Papua Student Alliance (AMP) and other organisations joined GERAK Palestine to hold an action with political speeches and poetry readings.

Earlier on November 16, the alliance held actions in the form of public discussions and a consolidation.

In Balikpapan, East Kalimantan, the Communal League joined with GERAK Palestine in a social media campaign and setup information stall providing readings on Palestine. The activists also handed out leaflets and issued a statement.

On Monday, November 13, in Jayapura, Papua, several different organisations joined GERAK Palestine to hold a consolidation and discussion on Palestine at the Green Papua Secretariat.

Following this, on November 15, alliance activists held a discussion around the theme “Update on the Palestinian Situation, Against Imperialism”.

On November 17, activists held a second more detailed discussion on the same theme and heading off for an action.

On Sunday, November 19, a free speech forum was held in the afternoon at the Sinak Student Dormitory featuring political speeches, songs of struggle and poems.

Police crackdown
In Sorong, South-West Papua, on November 21, several organisations joined an action with GERAK Palestine to launch an action. A police crackdown also claimed that the action was not in the context of solidarity with Palestine but was part of a pro-independence action for the Free Papua Movement (OPM).

In the Central Java city of Yogyakarta, several different organisations joined GERAK Palestine to hold a demonstration demanding full independence for Palestine. The action began with a long-march from the Abu Bakar Ali parking area through the Malioboro shopping district to the zero kilometre point in front of the Central Post Office.

The protesters carried posters and held speeches condemning Israel’s brutal actions in Palestine.

In Ternate, North Maluku, several organisations and students groups from a number of different campuses joined GERAK Palestine to hold a solidarity action and support Palestinian independence.

In Semarang, Central Java, activists from the Semarang XR Youth Resistance and IDPAL joined together to demand Palestinian independence during an action at the Semarang Water Fountain.

In Jakarta, a Palestine solidarity action was attended by around 100 people from different organisations. The police however prevented protesters from displaying banners and posters as symbols of solidarity.

At the end of the rally, the protesters read out a statement in solidarity with Palestine and demanded that the Indonesian government cut all diplomatic, economic and political ties with Israel.

On November 21 the Bali Committee of the Democratic National Student Secretariat (SDMN) and the Women’s Studio (Sanggar Puan) held online and offline discussions under the theme “Palestinian Genocide and the Feminist Response” focusing on the history of settler-colonialism carried out by Israel, the international politics surrounding the War on Gaza, the genocide committed by Israel against Palestine and gender-based violence in war and conflict.

Translated by James Balowski for IndoLeft News from Arah Juang. The original title of the article was “Aksi Serentak Nasional Gerakan Rakyat untuk Kemerdekaan Palestina”.

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