2 Dec 2016

More mass arrests at Papua rallies in Indonesia

8:34 pm on 2 December 2016

An Indonesian lawyer says the police continue to make mass arrests on spurious grounds at West Papuan rallies.

Indonesian police turn water canons on protestors who were mostly university students from Free Papua Organization and the Papua Student Alliance in Jakarta on December 1, 2016.

Indonesian police turn water canons on protestors who were mostly university students from Free Papua Organization and the Papua Student Alliance in Jakarta on December 1, 2016. Photo: Supplied

Police arrested over two hundred people in Jakarta yesterday for participating in a rally to mark the West Papuan nationalist day, 1st December.

A public interest lawyer who was present, Veronica Koman, said police subsequently released those arrested, without charge, a few hours later.

But she said the arrests follow the pattern seen in the large demonstrations across Papua region in May and June, where authorities violate citizens' right to freedom of expression.

Surya Anta (Spokeperson of FRI West Papua) and AMP leader in police car after arrested

Surya Anta (Spokeperson of FRI West Papua) and AMP leader in police car after arrested Photo: Supplied

She said that in their bid to silence West Papuan solidarity, police created excuses such as wanting to prevent traffic jams.

"The police will always find ways to forbid the demonstration. This year alone, since April, April 2016 until now, there have been at least 4,800 arrests," said Veronica Koman.