Kupang, Nusa Tenggara Timur Province, 1 Dec: Police officers watch nationalist groups beating Papuan protesters

In the city of Kupang, members of the Papuan Student Alliance (AMP), the Indonesian People’s Front for West Papua (FRI WP), and supporters gathered at 9:00 am. They began holding orations on the colonial history of West Papua. Several police officers guarded the protest while plainclothes officers monitored the peaceful rally.

At 9:15 am, about 50 members of the nationalist mass organisations (Ormas) Garda Flobamora and Garuda approached the students. They began a heated discussion with the protesters, calling on them to stop the protest immediately. The students refused to disperse, emphasizing their constitutional rights and the universal principles of freedom of expression and freedom of peaceful assembly.

Around 9:20 am, Garuda and Garda Flobamora members assaulted the students, punching them on their heads and bodies and trying to drag individual protesters away from the crowd. Videos recorded during the attack show that the police present failed to protect the students from the physical assault. At least three protesters sustained bruises in the face and body as a result of the attack. The protesters remained peaceful despite the assault.

At 9:40 am, police officers dispersed the protest, reportedly arresting 21 protesters. The students were forced to enter a truck while the beatings continued. The students were temporarily detained at the Kupang District police station. At the police station, police officers interrogated the protesters. A Papuan police officer allegedly punched a Papuan student during detention. All were released without charges.

Following the incident, Indonesian human rights organisations and observers in and outside of West Papua strongly condemned the violence against the student groups, calling upon the Nusa Tenggara Timur Regional Police to immediately take legal steps against the perpetrators of violence. Moreover, the organisations reminded the police of their duty to safeguard peaceful assemblies and take disciplinary measures against officers who fail to do so.

Detailed Case Data
name of the location: Kobakma (-3.6725407415544993, 139.06356857421167)
administrative region: Indonesia, Nusa Tenggara Timur Province, Kupang City
total number of victims: dozens
period of incident: 01.12.2023
perpetrator: police, other
perpetrator details: unknown, Garuda and Garda Flobamora members
Issues:  freedom of expression, freedom of assembly, indigenous peoples, ill-treatment, torture, arbitrary arrest
Further HRM News: https://humanrightsmonitor.org/news/peaceful-1-december-commemorations-responded-with-arbitrary-arrests-and-violence-against-protesters/

NumberName, DetailsGenderAgeGroup AffiliationViolations
dozensunknown unknownunknownindigenous, activistill-treatment, freedom of assembly
21unknown unknownunknownindigenous, activistfreedom of assembly, arbitrary detention