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Thousands of West Papuans demand referendum

August 6, 2011

Thousands of West Papuans demand referendum

Java Post – August 3, 2011

Ribuan Warga Papua Barat Tuntut Referendum – Jawa Pos. Rabu, 03 Agustus 2011 <http://www.jpnn.com/read/2011/08/03/99667/Ribuan-Warga-Papua-Barat-Tuntut-Referendum->

Manokwari — Thousands of Papuan civilians in Manokwari, West Papua, took to the streets on Tuesday August 2 to demand a referendum. The participants at the action are convinced that a referendum is the middle road to resolve the political status of West Papua.

Based on observations by Radar Sorong (JPNN Group), the protesters who came from a number of Papuan independence groups began gathering at the Papua Traditional Council (DAP) office on Jl. Pahlawan, Sanggeng. Before moving off, several people had an opportunity to take turns giving speeches.

The hot weather failed to dampen their enthusiasm to hold a long-march. The evidence being that at around 11am local time they marched on foot to the Manokwari seaport via Jl. Yos Sudarso and Jl. Merdeka. They then returned via Jl. Jenderal Sudirman and Jl. Yos Sudarso until they reached Jl. Trikora. The protesters then headed back towards the information grandstand on Jl. Percetakan, Sanggeng.

Under a tight guard by security forces, throughout the march the protesters shouted "Free Papua". Several Papua independence activists took turns in giving speeches in which they demanded that a referendum be held immediately. They also said that the government had committed many human rights violations against civilian Papuans.

After giving speeches at the information grandstand, the demonstrators then presented a political statement issued by the West Papua National Committee (KNPB) Manokwari regional leadership board. There were six points in the statement.

First, an appeal for support from the European parliament, the International Parliament for West Papua (IPWP), the International Lawyers for West Papua (ILWP) and Free Papua Organisation (OPM) diplomats to resolve [Papua's] political status through legal and political channels.

Second that the West Papuan people as a whole appeal for support from the Republic of Vanuatu and the governments of other pacific nations to take Papua’s political status before the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

Third, the West Papuan people appeal for support from European and African countries to take Papua’s political status to the ICJ.

Forth that the West Papuan people appeal for support from religious community leaders throughout the world and in West Papua to support a referendum for the Papuan nation.

Fifth, the West Papuan people appeal for support from human rights organisations to support a referendum for the Papua and West Papuan nations.

Sixth, that the West Papuan people support the international conference being organised by the ILWP in London as a road towards a referendum for the Papuan nation.

As planned earlier, yesterday the Sorong Raya regional DAP held a peaceful action on the grounds of the Maranatha Remu East Kalimantan Fertilizer Institute Senior High School 2 (SMA YPK).

At least 1,500 Papuan people of Melanesian decent took part in a series of demonstrations that were held simultaneously in Papua and West Papua.

It was initially planned that the peaceful action at SMA YPK would hold a long-march to the Sorong city Regional House of Representatives (DPRD) at Kilometer 10. But because they failed to obtain a permit from the Sorong municipal police, the protesters ended up simply giving speeches at the site. (jpnn)

[Translated by James Balowski.]

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INDOLEFT News service

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