Demonstration on 1 May in Jayapura took place peacefully

On 1 May 2024, a demonstration was held by the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP) in Jayapura, Papua Province, Indonesia. The demonstration commemorated the annexation of West Papua by Indonesia in May 1963, which ULMWP considers illegal.

The demonstration was held in front of the Cenderawasih University entrance and attended by more than a hundred students and members of the Orang Asli Papua (OAP) community. The demonstrators carried banners and delivered speeches expressing their belief that West Papua is an independent nation and does not belong to Indonesia.

ULMWP activists including Stenlhy Dambujai, a student of Jayapura University of Science and Technology, and ULMWP President Manase Tabuni gave speeches. Tabuni said that the New York Agreement of 1962, which facilitated the handover of West Papua from the Netherlands to Indonesia, was illegal and that Papuans had not been given a say in the agreement. Markus Haluk, ULMWP Secretary, also spoke at the demonstration. Haluk emphasised that West Papua was never part of the Dutch East Indies and that the Papuan people had been oppressed by the Indonesian government since the annexation.

The Jayapura City Police Head Kompol Hanafi said that the demonstration went well despite not being permitted in advance. He said that 300 police personnel were deployed to secure the demonstration.

The Papua Legal Aid Institute (LBH) Director Emanuel Gobay said that the demonstration was a good example of freedom of expression and commended ULMWP for raising awareness about workers’ rights in Papua. However, Gobay criticised the security forces for banning demonstrations at some locations, including Sentani and Abe Circle. Gobay said that this violated Law No. 9/1998 on Freedom to Express Opinions in Public.