Sorong, Papua Barat Daya Province, 1 Dec: Police officers disperse peaceful protest in Sorong with teargas

Protesters gathered on 1 December 2023 at around 10:00 am next to the Ramayana Mall in Klademak Village, Sorong City. The protest was officially registered by the Papuan Peoples Alliance (ARP). The rally was closely monitored by police officers (see photos below, source: independent HRDs). The officers forcefully dispersed a crowd of protesters around 1:10 pm by firing tear gas grenades at the crowd. Two protesters were reportedly arrested. At least one protester sustained bruises on the body after being hit by a teargas grenade (see videos below, source: independent HRDs).

According to information received, the police pushed the crowd back into a nearby street around 1:00 pm, arguing that the crowd should provide the space for a planned Christmas parade. Despite following the officers’ instructions, the police insisted that protesters must disperse. As the crowd refused to leave, the police indiscriminately fired teargas grenades into the protesters.

Human rights organisations, such as the Papuan Legal Aid Institute (LBH Papua), represent the view that police actions violate the freedom of expression guaranteed under international law and the Indonesian constitution. Moreover, human rights defenders say the police officers used excessive force to disperse the protest instead of using proportionate non-violent measures to achieve their objective.

The Papua Barat Regional Police spokesperson, Commissioner Adam Erwindi, declared in a written statement that police officers dispersed the crowd because the protesters had allegedly thrown stones at officials after instructing them to disperse immediately.

Detailed Case Data
name of the location: Ramanaya Mall (-0.8818638024539893, 131.27573492492346
administrative region: Indonesia, Papua Barat Daya Province, Sorong City, Sorong District, Klademak Village
total number of victims: two
period of incident: 01.01.2024
perpetrator:  other security forces
perpetrator details: unknown
Issues:  ill-treatment, freedom of expression, freedom of assembly, indigenous peoples
Sources:
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