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Summary of events in West Papua (12 August – 9 September 2019)

September 10, 2019

Summary of events in West Papua (12 August – 9 September 2019)

Its rare that stories about West Papua go viral in the mainstream media but the mass demonstrations over the past weeks certainly did. The rallies were triggered by the arrest of 43 West Papuan students in Surabaya Indonesia on the 17 August, Indonesia Independence Day. The incident occurred because it had been reported that an Indonesian flag had been vandalised near a student hostel for Papuans. (It’s not unusual for Papuans to further their education in Indonesia.) in this case Surabaya. Nationalists groups believed that the Papuan students had vandialised the flag and that the students were refusing to take part in Indonesian Independence celebrations. The Jakarta Post (19 August) reported that security personnel and members of Indonesian Nationalist groups attacked the Papuan students throwing stones at the dormitory and chanting “Kick out the Papuans!” and “Slaughter the Papuans!” The mob also called the students monkeys, pigs and dogs. As they stormed the building the Police fired tear gas into the building and arrested the students. The students were later released after questioning. They had denied any knowledge of the damaged flag.

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