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Demonstrations and riots in eastern Indonesia and the government seeks to contain regional tension


Suhaib Jassim and Ahmed Tirmidhi-Jakarta

Thousands of demonstrations have taken place in the provinces of Papua and West Papua in the far east of Indonesia, which turned into riots in which four police officers were injured.

The crowd also arrived at Sorong City Airport, where its new building was damaged before security personnel arrived to secure it.

Local authorities are trying to contain tensions in the four cities witnessing demonstrations in dialogue with the demonstrators and persuade them to disperse and not to demonstrate in the coming days.

But the city of Manokwari in the western province of Papua is still experiencing a clear economic paralysis, and police are considering the possibility of mobilizing more security personnel if repeated demonstrations in the coming days.

Thousands march in Jayapura, Papua province against student arrests (European)

The beginning of the tale
The Indonesian police chief, General Tito Karnavian, admitted that the reason for the flare-up of the demonstrations was what happened in two cities in East Java last Thursday and Saturday, reflected in demonstrations in the provinces of Papua and West Papua.

The beginning was in Malang, East Java province, last Thursday when the Papua Students' Alliance demonstrated in memory of the so-called 1962 New York historic agreement between the Indonesian government and the Dutch on Papua's political status following Indonesia's independence.

During the march of Papua students to the headquarters of the Governor of Malang city, they were confronted by citizens who rejected the protest of Papua students as an inconvenience to the movement of the city's inhabitants.

Police intervened and took control of the situation, and many were angry at a statement attributed to Malian Deputy Governor Sufian Eide saying that the option of sending Papua students who took part in the protests to their towns could be offered if their protest caused casualties and riots, a surprise speech. In general, Indonesians, not just the papacy.

But the scene did not end there. The scene spread to a city not far from Malang, Surabaya, the capital of East Java province, after a rumor of insulting the flag of Indonesia spread near the residence of students from Papua, on the eve of Indonesia's Independence Day.

Large numbers of police and local grassroots organizations gathered, encircled Papua students' homes, and 43 Papua students were taken from their student residence to be questioned at a police station before being released the following day, angering the papates, who reportedly said abusive language was spoken during the incident.

Surya Anta, a spokesman for the Indonesian People's Front for West Papua (PFI), expressed his dismay at the police's handling of the flag-abusing incident.He said the police did not conduct an adequate investigation before the students were taken, and that they left popular and student organizations encircling the place without interference that night.

Thousands of people have taken to the streets in West Papua (or East Java) after Papua student dorms were raided by Indonesian police. There are reports 43 students were arrested for allegedly bending the flag pole of an Indonesian flag.

- Jake Hanrahan (@Jake_Hanrahan) August 19, 2019

Apologies series
The first official apology was “lightweight Andar Barawansah”, former minister and governor of East Java province, to which the cities of Swarbaya and Malang belonged, offering a direct official apology to officials in Papua province and speaking to the Indonesian media.

She stressed that the verbal abuse and what happened to the Papua students in East Java does not represent the position of the general Javanese, pointing out that the people of East Java welcome the students and residents of Papua people, while ensuring their security and safety and their right to continue their studies as other citizens.

Confirming her words, Peter Romasipa, president of the Papal Families Association in Surayaba, said the papal people in Indonesia, the second largest city in Indonesia, numbering about 1,000 people live safely and there is no harm to them, but called on the police to investigate the incident of verbal abuse against papal students .

In the city of Malang, the governor of the city Sutia Ji that there is no decision or direction to deport students from the province of Papua who are studying at the universities of Malang, known as educational and tourist cities in the country.

He said that the city government had not issued any statement or decision in this regard, but admitted that his deputy Sufian Eide talked about studying the option of returning Papua students to their towns, which does not agree with the position of the government and residents of the city of Malang.

He added that the right to invest, work and study in the city of Malang is available to all citizens from different regions and regions.

Protesters set fire to local parliament building in Manokwari (European)

Mutual apology
Indonesian President Joko Widodo also called on all citizens to forgive one another. "My brothers in Papua know that there is a feeling of abuse, but we are one people in one country, so it is better to tolerate," he said. ".

He stressed that the government will seek to preserve the dignity of citizens in Papua and West Papua, pointing out that the government will continue its programs to improve the lives of citizens in the two regions.

Linis Koguya, president of the Federation of Papua Residents' Associations and Indonesian President's Advisor on Papua Affairs, called for ensuring the safety and well-being of Papal students across Indonesian cities. He stressed that what happened in Surabaya and Papua has instilled fear among Papal students.

He said intensive coordination is needed between the central government and various local governments in the provinces, provinces and cities to ensure the security and safety of papal students who need to continue their education in various Indonesian universities.

For his part, the Governor of Papua province Lucas Inenembe fellow government officials in various regions of Indonesia to take care of the interests of the Papal population in their areas, stressing the same role towards students, residents and the general public coming to Papua from other Indonesian provinces.

He also called on Indonesians to preserve societal harmony and not to engage in any outlaws or arbitrary or racist behavior that might hurt the papal feeling and undermine coexistence.It should not be a place for any intolerant, racist or discriminatory behavior, he said.

A proportion of Papua's population is ethnically and culturally different from other Indonesian islands, which could cause inter-ethnic tension in such demonstrations.

The incident in the Indonesian media has sparked extensive discussions on the Papua issue in all its details, from human rights and development and to take advantage of its enormous wealth and the allocations and privileges of self-government.

Source: aljazeera

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