Police prevent Papuan students’ peaceful demonstration in Bali on 1 May

Papuan students in Bali planned a peaceful demonstration on 1 May 2024 for the 61st anniversary of Papua’s annexation into Indonesia. They intended to march from the East Renon Parking Lot to the Consulate of the United States in Denpasar. However, their attempt was hindered by a large police contingent from the Bali Regional Police and the Denpasar City Police.

The morning began with students gathering at the designated meeting point at 6:30 am. By 8:50 am, they were prepared to start their march, but police forces intercepted them. Negotiations between student representatives from the Papuan Student Alliance (AMP) and the Bali Legal Aid Insititute (LBH Bali) and the police started at 9am. Unfortunately, negotiations failed, and police insisted on dispersing the crowd.

We received reports that at around 9:40 am the internet service in the area was down and therefore the live broadcast of the march on the website of the AMP was not possible.

Police offered the students a window for demonstration until noon, but by 11:15 am they were surrounded and isolated by police. Faced with this restriction, the students resorted to displaying posters by the roadside for public view. Despite the arrival of Brimob, Dalmas, and police units with water cannons at, the students remained calm and proceeded to read a statement outlining their stance.

The students’ demands included declaring Indonesia’s 61-year presence in Papua as illegal due to the lack of Papuan consent during the annexation. They also demanded investigations into the killings of 3 civilians in Puncak Papua, audits of Freeport’s wealth, worker severance pay, mine reserves, and environmental damage. Additionally, they called for the withdrawal of all TNI-Polri personnel from West Papua, an end to the conflict in the region, and open access to foreign journalists and information flow within West Papua. Their statement also included demands for investigations into human rights violations during Freeport McMoran’s operation in West Papua and the right to self-determination for West Papuans through a democratic solution.