Police fail to protect Papuan students during peaceful protest in Bali – 13 protesters injured

Thirteen Papuan students have sustained bruises and injuries (see table and photos below, source: AMP) after being attacked by Garuda Nusantara Patriots (PGN) members during a peaceful assembly on 1 April 2023 in the city of Denpasar, Bali Province. The PGN is one of many nationalist groups in Indonesia promoting pro-government values and state ideologies. The protest was launched by the Papuan Student Alliance (AMP) and aimed to raise awareness of the deteriorating human rights situation and the ruthless exploitation of natural resources in West Papua. The police failed to provide security for the Papuan protesters during the public assembly. According to AMP members, several plain-cloth police officers present did not take action to disperse the crowd or protect the Papuan students during the attack.

Papuan students gathered around 8.30 am and were met by dozens of PGN members near the Udayana Tourism Faculty in Denpasar. According to the students, plain cloth police officers had monitored protesters gathering at the meeting point. The situation turned tense after negotiations between the protesters and the PGN did not bring results. Around 10.10 am, the PGN members began throwing stones and bottles at the protesters. Others were punching and kicking the Papuan students to push them back into the university campus (see videos below, source: independent HDRs). At 10.30 am, the Papuan students retreated and cancelled the protest.

The Bali Legal Aid Institute (LBH Bali) has documented ongoing obstruction, dispersal, and violence against Papuan students in Bali. These include the arrest and beating of protesters from Formalipa Bali in March 2021, the circulation of posters with terrorist messages aimed at Papuans in May 2021, and the repression of peaceful demonstrations by Papuan students in November 2022 and December 2022. Additionally, advocates and legal aid providers accompanying Papuan students were subjected to intimidation and criminalisation.

The recurrence of these events violates human rights and manifests long-grown racist sentiments towards indigenous Papuans in some parts of Indonesian society. The circle of violence is perpetuated in the absence of law enforcement institutions to process the perpetrators of violence. In response, the AMP, LBH Bali, and the Indonesian Legal Institute (YLBHI) condemned the violence and obstruction of peaceful demonstrations in Bali. They called upon the police to fulfil their obligation to protect the human rights and fundamental freedoms of all people in Indonesia. 

Video of dispersal of the protest.
Video of the dispersal of the protest.

Table of Papuan students injured in Bali on 1 April 2023

NoNameInjury sustained
1Wemison EnembeWas hit by a stone and sustained a head injury
2Gabriel BunaiPGN members punched him; he was hit by a stone and sustained a head injury
3Yohanes HilapokWas hit by a stone and sustained bruises on the hand
4Yunus TagiWas hit by a stone and sustained a bleeding injury on the temple
5Bolikam KogoyaWas hit with a bamboo stick to the foot, causing injuries on multiple toes
6Erik WakerWas hit by a stone and sustained bruises on the leg
7Fredy AgakiWas hit by a stone and sustained bruises on the leg
8Derimon KepnoWas punched and hit by a stone on the calf
9Daut MoteWas splashed with chili fluid
10Yan WetipoWas hit with a stick to the hand, causing bruises
11Marbinus PigaiWas punched to the head and hit by a stone in the back
12Herry MeagaWas splashed with chilli fluid to the eyes
13Andi PekeyWas splashed with chilli fluid to the eyes

Detailed Case Data
name of the location: Udayana Tourism Faculty (-8.67147607933113, 115.21988308571324) administrative region: Indonesia, Bali Province, Denpasar City
total number of victims: 13
period of incident: 01.04.2023
perpetrator: police, other
perpetrator details: Garuda Nusantara Patriots (PGN)
Issues: freedom of peaceful assembly, ill-treatment, indigenous, freedom of expression
Further HRM News:

NumberName, DetailsGenderAgeGroup AffiliationViolation
1Wemison Enembemaleunknownindigenousill-treatment, freedom of assembly  
1Gabriel Bunaimaleunknownindigenous ill-treatment, freedom of assembly  
1Yohanes Hilapokmaleunknownindigenous ill-treatment, freedom of assembly  
1Yunus Tagimaleunknownindigenous ill-treatment, freedom of assembly  
1Bolikam Kogoyamaleunknownindigenous ill-treatment, freedom of assembly  
1Erik Wakermaleunknownindigenous ill-treatment, freedom of assembly  
1Fredy Agakimaleunknownindigenous ill-treatment, freedom of assembly  
1Derimon Kepnomaleunknownindigenous ill-treatment, freedom of assembly  
1Daut Motemaleunknownindigenous ill-treatment, freedom of assembly  
1Yan Wetipomaleunknownindigenous ill-treatment, freedom of assembly  
1Marbinus Pigaimaleunknownindigenous ill-treatment, freedom of assembly  
1Herry Meagamaleunknownindigenous ill-treatment, freedom of assembly  
1Andi Pekeymaleunknownindigenous ill-treatment, freedom of assembly