Ten protesters arrested for commemorating 1st December

Police officers arrested ten protesters participating in peaceful commemorations of the 1st of December in Sorong, Papua Barat Province, and Ternate, Maluku Utara Province. The protesters had raised Morning Star Flags in public places. Police officers arrested the protesters and temporarily detained them at the local police station. According to the information received, the police did not press charges against them.

In Sorong, the police had increased its presence across the city since the early morning hours of 1 December 2022. Police officers arrested two protesters with the initials NY and MI (see photo, source: Suara Papua) in front of the Ramayana Mall, Klademak 3, where the Papuan Peoples’ Petition (PRP) had organised the peaceful assembly. They dispersed the crowd of about 100 people with teargas after one protester raised a Morning Star Flag. The Kaki Abu Legal Aid institute provided legal support to the arrestees during detention.

Eight Papuan activists of the Papuan Student Alliance (AMP) and the solidarity groups Indonesian Peoples Front for West Papuan (FRI WP) as well as Liga of Indonesian Students for Democracy (LMID) were arrested near the Jatiland Mall in the city of Ternate on 1 December 2022. Police officers brought Jack (FRI-WP), Hengky (AMP), Dino (AMP), Susan (AMP), Malo (LMID), Kama (LMID), Rino, and Gelombang to the Ternate District Police headquarters for interrogation. All protesters were released without charges at 12:00 am. Police officers reportedly forced the protesters to sign a statement according to which they would refrain from commemorating the 1 December again.  


West Papuans across the world commemorate the 1 December 1961. The Morning Star Flag, which many Papuans consider the most important symbol of cultural identity, was first raised on that date, before the territory came under the administration of the United Nations Temporary Executive Authority (UNTEA) on 1 October 1962.

The West Papuan independence movement and the armed resistance commonly use the Morning Star as a system for their struggle for self-determination. Though the Morning Star symbol is acknowledged as a symbol of cultural identity in the 2001 Papuan Special Autonomy Law, Indonesian authorities prosecute persons raising the flag or wearing clothes and accessories with the Morning Star.  

Case data: https://humanrightsmonitor.org/case/sorong-papua-barat-2-protesters-arrested-and-crowd-dispersed-with-tear-gas-during-1st-dec-commemorations/ and https://humanrightsmonitor.org/case/ternate-maluku-utara-province-eight-arrested-during-1st-of-dec-commemorations/