Police crackdown on a peaceful protest in Jayapura – 41 protesters injured, 7 activists arrested

Student groups and the Papuan People’s Petition (PRP) organised Indonesia-wide protests on 10 and 11 May 2022 to voice their rejection of the planned formation of new provinces in West Papua, Indonesia. The PRP represents the view that the administrative partitions in West Papua have been forced on the Papuans by a small political elite in West Papua and the Central Government.

Police personnel forcefully dispersed the protest in Jayapura with water cannons and tear gas. They were also dispersing the crowd with wooden batons and rubber ammunition. Forty-one protesters were reportedly injured as they fell down after being hit by water cannons or ill-treated by police officers. Seven Papuan activists were arbitrarily arrested inside the office of the Papuan branch office of the NGO Commission of the Disappeared and Victims of Violence (KontraS) shortly after the protest. They were released without charges within 24 hours.

Other protests took place in the Papuan towns of Amban in the Manokwari Regency, Wamena, Enarotali and Biak as well as in the cities Makassar in South Sulawesi Province and Manado in North Sulawesi Province. The police reportedly prevented protests from taking place in some locations. According to information received, police officers in Biak prevented protesters from attending the demonstrations. Human rights observers declared that police officers closely monitored public transportation vehicles and forced protesters living outside of Biak town to return to their villages. The protesters in the city of Makassar were reportedly attacked by pro-government civil militias. Police personnel securing the demonstration were accused of neglecting physical attacks by the government supporters against the Papuan protesters.

Thousands of protesters took part in the protests in the towns of Amban, Manado, Enarotali and Wamena. They were not restricted by the police. These are the latest of a series of protests against Jakarta’s plan to establish new autonomy regions in the Provinces Papua and Papua Barat. The first peaceful demonstrations took place in March 2022 right after the Indonesian house of representatives passed a draft law for the formation of the new provinces Anim Ha (Papua Selatan Province), Meepago (Papua Tengah Province) and Lapago (Pegunungan Tengah Province). Protests have taken place in early Marchmid-March 2022, early April 2022 and mid-April.

Dispersal of demonstration in Jayapura

Following previous announcements by student groups and the PRP, thousands of indigenous Papuans went on the streets in Jayapura on 10 May 2022 to protest against the formation of new provinces. Prior to the demonstration, the Jayapura Municipality police chief, Commissioner Gustav R. Urbinas, had announced his men would disperse the demonstration claiming that the notification letter for the protest submitted to the police did not meet formal requirements for the registration of a public protest.

The Jayapura-based human rights organisation Papuan Institute for Human Rights Studies and Advocacy (Elsham Papua) monitored the protests on the ground. The director of ELSHAM Papua, Rev Matheus Adadikam, assessed that the security personnel used unnecessary and excessive force against protesters during the crowd control operation in Jayapura.

Protesters began gathering at Ekspo Waena, Jayapura City, around 8.00 am. At 10.00 am, the joint security forces urged the protesters to disperse and return home. As the protesters refused to do so, security personnel dispersed the crowd with water cannons and teargas and rubber ammunition. The officers were chasing protesters with shields and wooden batons (see videos below). At least 41 protesters were injured. They fell down as the water cannons were aimed at the crowd or were hit by police officers with batons (see table below). According to media information, 1,181 joint police and military personnel participated in the crowd control operation.

Arbitrary arrest and detention of seven activists

Shortly after the crowd was dispersed, police officers arrested seven Papuan political activists (see table below) inside the KontraS Papua office in Padang Bulan, Jayapura City. All had previously participated in the demonstration and came to the KontraS Papua office to take a rest.  The police officers entered the office without showing an arrest or search warrant. They seized computers, mobile phones and other belongings, all of which were owned by KontraS.

Subsequently, police officers brought the activists to the Jayapura Municipality police headquarters where they were interrogated. A team of lawyers was allowed to provide legal support to the suspects. All suspects were released within 24 hours after the police could not present sufficient evidence for prosecution under the Indonesian Electronic Information and Transaction Act (UU ITE). The police officers reportedly questioned the activists about posts they had published on their social media accounts.

Human rights observers understood the arrests as an attempt to criminalise the seven Papuan activists for their political views. All of them are affiliated with civil resistance movements promoting the right to self-determination for West Papua through non-violent action.

Tables with protesters injured and arrested during a peaceful protest in Jayapura on 10 May 2022

NoNameGenderAffiliationInjuries sustained
1Salmon GobaiMaleCenderawasih University studentBruises on the left hand
2Natalis DogomoMaleCenderawasih University studentBruises on the left shoulder
3Feri MoteMaleYapis University StudentInjury on the thumb of his right hand
4Selpianus DogopiaMaleCenderawasih University studentBruises on the right shoulder
5Jhon Fredy TebaiMaleCenderawasih University studentBruises on the right hand
6Eliaser AuweMaleCenderawasih University studentInjury on the thumb of his left hand
7Daniel WaineMaleTechnical University studentBruises on his left hand
8Tomas YohanesMaleCenderawasih University studentBruises on the back
9Yabet DegeiMaleCenderawasih University studentInjury on the thumb of his right hand
10Selpianus TekegeMaleCenderawasih University studentBruises on the right hand
11Oktopianus MoteMaleCenderawasih University studentInjury on the index finger of his right hand
12Riko PekeyMaleCenderawasih University studentHead injury
13Alfin MeageMaleCenderawasih University studentBleeding nose after the officer punched his face
14Hosana PeyonFemaleCenderawasih University studentBruises on both knees
15Bong O WendaFemaleN/ABruised knee
16Meki NaibyalMaleN/ABruised knee
17Falen GobayMaleN/AInjury on the foot
18Hosea YeimoMaleWest Papua National Committee (KNPB) ChairmanHead injury
19Ricko PigaiMaleN/AHead injury
20Otofret NawipaMaleCenderawasih University studentFainted, sustained bruises on the chest after an officer kicked him with combat boots, Bruised arm after an officer hit him with a wooden baton
21Bertinus KobakMaleN/ABruises on the foot after an officer kicked him with combat boots
22Kanip KobakMaleN/ABruised knee
23Esman KeromanMaleN/ABruised arm
24Thia M. FelleMaleN/ABruises on the chest after an officer punched him; bruises on the stomach after being hit by a tear gas container
25Anike MohiFemaleN/ABruises on both knees
26Aatias Bob KwambuMaleN/ABruises on the heel
27Ricky LepiMaleN/AHead injury
28Eno UspyalMaleN/ABruised hand
29Abrani SalawaMaleN/ABruised knee
30Kelubur TaboMaleN/ABruised foot
31Rio P. TulyanukMaleN/ABruised knee
32Irfando MiottiMaleN/ABruises on the foot and back after a police officer hit him with a wooden baton
33Lius BoiMaleN/AInjury on the hand
34Lover MagaiMaleN/AHead injury
35Arkilaus LokoMaleN/ASeveral fingers injured
36Mince EnumbiFemaleN/ABruises on the back near the spine
37Elek TepmulMaleN/AHead injury
38Utina Pase FemaleN/ABruises on the leg and back after police officer hit him with a wooden baton
39Nopi PahabolMaleN/ABruised back after a police officer hit him with a wooden baton
40Bertus BagauMaleN/ABruised leg after police officer hit him with a wooden baton
41Nain WahlaMaleN/ABruised arm after police officer hit him with a wooden baton
Table with 41 protesters sustaining injuries as security forces dispersed the peaceful protest in Jayapura on 10 May 2022
NoNameAffiliationTime of release
1Jefri WendaSpokesperson of the Papuan People’s Petition (PRP)Was released on 11 May 2022 at 5.00 pm
2Omikson BalinggaDiplomatic coordinator of the West Papua National Committee (KNPB)Was released on 11 May 2022 at 5.00 pm
3Ones Suhuniap Spokesperson of the West Papua National Committee (KNPB)Was released on 11 May 2022 at 5.00 pm
4Bintang BomaKNPB memberWas released on 11 May 2022 at 3.10 am
5Iman KogoyaKNPB member Was released on 11 May 2022 at 3.10 am
6Marthen ManggaprouwMember of the West Papua National Authority (WPNA)Was released on 11 May 2022 at 3.10 am
7Esther Haluk Papuan People’s Movement for Democracy (Garda Papua)Was released on 11 May 2022 at 3.10 am
Table with activists arbitrarily arrested in the office of NGO KontraS Papua in Jayapura on 10 May 2022

Videos and images of crowd control operation in Jayapura, 10 May 2022

Police officers disperse the crowd at Ekspo Waena, Jayapura
Police personnel attack peaceful protesters with wooden batons and tear gas ammunition in Waena, Jayapura.
Police officers disperse the crowd at Ekspo Waena, Jayapura

Images of protesters injured as a result of forceful dispersal of demonstration in Jayapura on 10 May 2022

Videos and Photos of protests against the formation of new provinces in West Papua

Peaceful protest in Wamena, Jayawijaya Regency, 10 May 2022
Peaceful protest in Manado, North Sulawesi Province, 10 May 2022
Peaceful protest in Makassar, South Sulawesi Province, 10 May 2022 (Source: Jubi)
Peaceful protest in Enarotali, Paniai Regency, on 11 May 2022 (Source: Jubi)
Peaceful protest in Amban in the Manokwari Regency on 10 May 2022 (Source: Jubi)

Photos of seven Papuan activists during police detention at the Jayapura Municipality Police Headquarters

Detailed Case Data
name of the location: Jayapura
administrative region: Indonesia, Papua Province, Kota Jayapura
total number of victims: 48
period of incident: 10.05.2022
perpetrator: police, other security forces
perpetrator details: unknown
Issues: freedom of opinion and expression, torture, arbitrary detention, human rights defenders, freedom of peaceful assembly and of association, indigenous peoples
Sources: Jubi, ELSHAM
Further HRM News:

NumberName, DetailsGenderAgeGroup AffiliationViolations
1Salmon Gobai, studentmaleunknownactivists torture
1Natalis Dogomo, studentmaleunknownactiviststorture
1Feri Mote, studentmaleunknownactiviststorture
1Selpianus Dogopia, studentmaleunknownactiviststorture
1Jhon Fredy Tebai, studentmaleunknownactiviststorture
1Eliaser Auwe, studentmaleunknownactiviststorture
1Daniel Waine, studentmaleunknownactiviststorture
1Tomas Yohanes, student maleunknownactiviststorture
1Yabet Degei, studentmaleunknownactiviststorture
1Selpianus Tekege, studentmaleunknownactiviststorture
1Oktopianus Mote, student maleunknownactiviststorture
1Riko Pekey, studentmaleunknownactiviststorture
1Alfin Meage, student maleunknownactiviststorture
1Hosana Peyon, studentfemaleunknownactiviststorture
1Bong O, Wendafemaleunknownactiviststorture
1Meki Naibyalmaleunknownactiviststorture
1Falen Gobaymaleunknownactiviststorture
1Hosea Yeimo, KNPB membermaleunknownactiviststorture
1Ricko Pigai maleunknownactiviststorture
1Otofret Nawipamaleunknownactiviststorture
1Bertinus Kobakmaleunknownactiviststorture
1Kanip Kobakmaleunknownactiviststorture
1Esman Keromanmaleunknownactiviststorture
1Thia M. Fellemaleunknownactiviststorture
1Anike Mohifemaleunknownactiviststorture
1Aatias Bob Kwambumaleunknownactiviststorture
1Ricky Lepimaleunknownactiviststorture
1Eno Uspyalmaleunknownactiviststorture
1Abrani Salawamaleunknownactiviststorture
1Kelubur Tabomaleunknownactiviststorture
1Rio P. Tulyanukmaleunknownactiviststorture
1Irfando Miottimaleunknownactiviststorture
1Lius Boimaleunknownactiviststorture
1Lover Magaimaleunknownactiviststorture
1Arkilus Lokomaleunknownactiviststorture
1Mince Enumbifemaleunknownactiviststorture
1Elek Tepmulmaleunknownactiviststorture
1Utina Pasefemaleunknownactiviststorture
1Nopi Pahabolmaleunknownactiviststorture
1Bertus Bagaumaleunknownactiviststorture
1Nain Wahlamaleunknownactiviststorture
1Jefri Wenda, Papuan Peoples’s Petition (PRP) spokespersonmaleunknownactivistsarbitrary detention
1Omikson Balingga, KNPB coordinatormaleunknownactivistsarbitrary detention
1Ones Suhunia, KNPB spokespersonmaleunknownactivistsarbitrary detention
1Bintang Boma, KNPB membermaleunknownactivistsarbitrary detention
1Iman Kogoya, KNPB membermaleunknownactivistsarbitrary detention
1Marthen Manggaprouw, West Papua National Authority (WPNA) membermaleunknownactivistsarbitrary detention
1Esther Haluk, Papuan People’s Movement for Democracy (Garda Papua)femaleunknownactivistsarbitrary detention

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