Police blocked demonstration in Manokwari on 1 May – protestors remained peaceful

On 1 May, eight civil society organisations forming the Papuan People’s Front (FRP) indeed held a peaceful demonstration in Manokwari. The demonstration commemorated the 61st anniversary of Papua’s annexation into Indonesia and took place at three locations: in front of the Mansinam Student Dormitory, the Amban Subdistrict Office, and the entrance of the University of Papua Manokwari. The protesters carried banners, some reportedly waved red KNPB flags, and delivered speeches. Their key themes were the right of self-determination for the Papuan people and solidarity with international workers on 1 May (International Workers’ Day).

Coordinator Lotty Selak explained that the demonstrators originally planned a long march to the West Papua Provincial Parliament. However, security forces blocked their path at the Makalo Manokwari monument. Negotiations failed to reach an agreement, and the demonstrators occupied the road in protest. Eventually, security forces allowed representatives to deliver speeches and a statement outlining the FRP’s position.

The FRP’s statement rejected Indonesia’s claim to Papua, arguing it lacked historical evidence. They see West Papua as an independent nation and reject the results of the 1969 Act of Free Choice due to its flawed process. The FRP’s core demand was the right to self-determination for West Papua, along with an end to martial law in the region.

The demonstration itself remained peaceful, and the demonstrators dispersed after their statement was read. However, it is important to note that security forces prevented them from carrying out their planned long march.