By Johnny Fernando |
The demands by Papuans for a referendum on self-determination spread to Jakarta on Wednesday, amid reports of civilian fatalities in Papua.
Hundreds of Papuan students took to the streets in Central Jakarta following similar protests in the highlands of Papua earlier this week.
The protesters marched from the Army headquarters to the State Palace, carrying banned Morning Star flags, a symbol of the Papuan independence movement.
“The students and the people of Papua have agreed to call for a referendum,” protest coordinator Ambrosius said during the rally.
In addition to a referendum, the protesters also called for the governors of Papua and West Papua to facilitate a return of Papuan students back to their provinces.
The students also demanded that the Information and Communications Ministry lift the government-imposed internet blackout that has been in place in the country’s easternmost provinces since last week.
When they reached the front of the State Palace, protesters burned tires and performed traditional Papuan dances while chanting. The crowd dispersed peacefully at around 5:30 p.m.
The protests came amid reports that civilians had been shot by security forces during an antiracism rally in Deiyai regency, Papua. Eyewitnesses said that six protesters were feared dead and at least three others were injured during the incident.
Authorities have confirmed that one soldier died and at least two policemen were injured in the incident, but have yet to confirm civilian casualties. (kmt/tru)
To my beloved Sepik people, I make this explanation because I am accountable to you all.
When the events of 2011 came about, I was outspoken against it. Since 2011, the economic climate in PNG has continued to deteriorate at an alarming rate.
ESPG was particularly punished from 2011 – 2017 because of the position taken by Sir Michael Somare. Our grants were cut consistently by more than 80% during that period. This was unjust, uncalled for and vicious way to treat the Sepik people.
I stood against PNC and it’s vindictive and punitive practice and policies in 2017 and won elections on that basis. Over the past two years we fought the PNC government. During the VONC, we tried to depose PNC with the help of the Marape splinter group. We worked hard to remove PNC. Things didn’t work out well but we kept pushing.
After PMJM was installed, our fight with PNC seemed over except that they were still there working in the background.
When I was in the US, I received information of a possibility of another Parliamentary coup to remove Marape and elements within PNC and others were behind it. I objected strongly and said I would not be a part of such a move.
PNC and it’s leaders have now been ejected by PMJM to join the opposition.
When the opportunity to help the country arose for some of us to assist the government, we took it.
My fight was against PNC and it’s repressive policies. I have no argument with the Marape government unlike the O’Neil government.
In opposition we operate as a team, I am sad that we had to split up the team but I didn’t get elected for position or power. I got elected because I wanted to help Sepik and our country ultimately.
One of our MPs has the opportunity to help the country in Treasury, myself and others are in government to help him perform that role. Ultimately, if the country collapses we all pay the price. So if we have the opportunity to work with a good PM and save our country then I want to do that.
It wasn’t an easy thing to do to leave the opposition. My friends are there. But some of my friends are now in government and I want to support the new Treasurer so he can contribute to putting our nation back on track.
Finally, I will remain as Governor because we have much to do at home. We have the massive EU Grant Program and others that are earmarked for us. I want to protect those investments from those who want to derail the good works we intend to do at home.
PMJM wants us to build the economy of Sepik to support the country. His views are consistent with mine and I want to work with him for all our benefit.
Maulu tumas na God bless
Hashim Hakeem is a video producer and mobile video journalism trainer. We met in Indonesia. He has a wicked sense of humor. Hashim is the Indian side of disputed Kashmir. He has tried to get information out of the region through his video posts since arriving in the region. He sent this update a few days ago.
You can follow his video updates here on Facebook.
Ten years ago, a small group of Papua New Guineans made a decision to fight the construction of multibillion kina mine Chinese owned nickel mine in the Madang province.
The reasons were simple:
- Land was going to be taken away from its traditional custodians in Kurumbukari in the Usino-Bundi electorate and…
- the sea, a vital resource for the people’s survival, was going to polluted by the dumping of tailings into the Basamuk Bay.
I cannot mention some of the names of those who were strongly opposed to this because I do not have their permission. But they remained dedicated and were determined to stop the destruction from happening years before I got involved in the campaign.
It is one part of my life I never regretted.
In 2011, in the course of the campaign, we produced one of several documentaries warning of the destruction that was about to happen. We hoped that in the process, people would be educated and would make the right decision and stop the dumping of tailings or the construction of the processing facility.
While filming the documentary UPROOTED, we travelled to Kumumbukari, where old Benny Mangua, a chief in his own right and chief custodian of the land wept because he was going to lose his land forever.
Months earlier, he was told by the Chinese company workers that their village was going to be removed because it was going to become the mine site. They gave him K500 as a resettlement payment.
Months later, his sons were evicted from their village by police. Benny Mangua, didn’t survival long after that. He passed on, a broken man separated from his land. His family was told not to plant food on land that was later turned into a dumping area for the mine.
His son Peter Peter continued to resist attempts by police and the company to remove him. One morning, armed police, acting in the interests of the Chinese mine management, broke down his house and forced him off his land.
He died about two years later.
In Basamuk, on the coast, they built a nickel refinery. Landowners went to court to stop the company from dumping waste into the bay. Some were threatened. The court case was unsuccessful.
Government officials peddled a narrative that the waste was “safe” and that it wouldn’t affect the sea. During a presentation in Madang, we walked in uninvited and asked the Chinese developers what they meant when they said the “waste is safe.” Their response was that the system they used was of international standard.
Members of landowner companies said the people wanted and needed development and that we were stopping their “progress.” In their ignorance, they listened to the line pushed by the Chinese developer that America was behind it and that we were supporting “an American (Western) agenda.”
In then end, the court ruled in favor of the company.
Today, people complain about the waste disposal in the one beautiful Basamuk Bay. The water is red from the waste disposal. Some of the older men who selfishly supported the mine and the refinery are dead.
Their children are living with the destruction they allowed.
Jakarta, Indonesia – Large demonstrations in Indonesia’s West Papua region have turned violent as thousands of protesters, angered by alleged police abuse against ethnic Papuan students, burned public facilities and blocked roads.
In West Papua province’s capital of Manokwari, protesters burned the parliamentary building and local stores, according to police and images obtained by Al Jazeera.
A building previously occupied by West Papua Provincial Governor Dominggus Mandacan was also burned, Indonesia’s national police spokesman, Dedi Prasetyo, told Al Jazeera.
There were no immediate reports of casualties. The demonstrations are still ongoing.
“For now, we are still focusing on collecting the data on the casualties and trying to calm down the masses,” he told Al Jazeera.
Images obtained by Al Jazeera showed the demonstrators, including many young students, waving the “Morning Star” flag, which is seen as a symbol of self-rule by Papuans.
“We are not white and red, we are morning star,” the protesters shouted, in reference to the Indonesian flag and the Papuan banner. Individuals carrying the banned flag could face arrest and imprisonment of up to 15 years.
There are also demonstrations reported in the city of Jayapura, the capital and largest city of Papua, the country’s easternmost province. Hundreds of people riding their motorbikes were seen joining the protest.
Al Jazeera also received reports that angry protesters forcibly took down the Indonesian flag outside the office of Papua Provincial Governor Lukas Enembe.
Indonesia’s West Papua region is divided into two provinces, West Papua and Papua.