Five police officers, one journalist were injured and 11 protesters reportedly detained yesterday when Indonesian security authorities crushed a rally staged by the West Papua National Committee (KNPB) at Manokwari, West Papua.
Violent scenes broadcast on Metro TV showed sustained gunshots and brutal attacks on protesters at the rally. West Papua Media reported four casualties - one said to have died later in unconfirmed reports - and the Jakarta Globe said two had been shot in the chaos. Agence France-Presse reported rubber bullets had been used in the shootings.
“The officers were still in hospital. The demonstrators threw stones at them. I don’t know whether anyone from KNPB was also injured,” said Manokwari police chief Adj. Sr. Comr. Agustinus Supriyanto today, as quoted by www.tempo.co.
A reporter with Suara Papua, Oktovianus Pogau was also reportedly injured after being hit by the police.
Dozens of people under the KNPB banner staged a rally in front of the University of Papua, Manokwari, to show support for the meeting of the International Parliament of West Papua (IPWP) that discussed the ongoing struggle for the liberation of West Papua in London.
The peaceful rally reportedly turned chaotic after one of the demonstrators threw stones at people that took pictures from behind the horde of police.
The police responded by allegedly firing warning shots.
Agustinus denied that the police opened fire at the demonstrators.
“If there were rumours about someone being shot, that’s not true,” said Agustinus. He also claimed no one was arrested.
But the Metro video shows sustained shots for several minutes and apparently wounded people on the ground.
Another report, however, says 11 protesters were detained in the rally.
The video also shows people being detained.
The committee’s chairman, Viktor Yeimo, said some of his people were arrested.
“This is unacceptable. We were just expressing our aspirations. I even heard that two of our men were shot,” he said.
Source: The Jakarta Post | Free Papua Merdeka
West Papua Media updates