GempaR Rally to Urge Jokowi to Change His Policies

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Jayapura, Jubi – Dozens of people from the Papuan Youth, Student and People Movement (GempaR) held a protest in several universities in Jayapura demanding the Indonesian government change its policies.

GempaR Secretary General Samuel Womsiwor explained the Alliance of Indonesian Students simultaneously organized people and workers for demonstration to call President Joko Widodo to respond to current conditions in Indonesia.
“This protest is intended to ask Jokowi to be responsible for some policies he made within seven months of his government, because it made people in Indonesia to feel restless and helpless,” Womsiwor told Jubi on Wednesday (20/5/2015) in Jayapura.

He said Jokowi was originally known as humble man and considered by Indonesian people to bring the better change for Indonesia, but for the last six months, his policies have harmed the Indonesian people in Papua. “Such as the policies on transmigration program (October), human right violation (Enarotali-Paniai, 8 December 2014), West Papua Police Headquarter (19 December 2014), West Papua Regional Military Command, foreign investor (President’s Speech in APEC), Mobile Brigade Headquarters in Jayawijaya, shooting incident in Yahukimo,” he said. And also the policies on such cases of illegal mining company in Degeuwo, oil palm plantation in Nabire, criminalization on human right activists Areki Wanimbo and Gustaf Kawer, violence toward Papuan journalists in Nabire and Biak, random shooting and arrest towards hundreds of protesters on 1 May 2015. “Therefore we asked Jokowi to immediately resolve the occurred incidents under his administrative. These polices greatly weakens the position and chance of Papuans on their own land,” Wamsiwor told Jubi through email on Sunday (17/5/2015).

Meanwhile, GempaR activist Philipus Rohaba said on this occasion GempaR Papua asked the Government of Indonesia to open the democratic space, provide access to the foreign journalists and international human right workers to come to Papua. “We request and invite the foreign journalists coming to Papua to cover and monitor the current situation in Papua. We also asked the government to stop silencing the democratic space in Papua, to discontinue the criminalization on human right activists and indigenous Papuans,” said Robaha.

From Jubi’s observation on Wednesday (20/5/2015), the students started the rally in several points, namely in front of Cendrawasih University (Uncen) in Abepura and Waena, Jayapura Science and Technology University (USTJ) in Padangbulan and STIH Umel Mandiri in Kota Raja.

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At around 09:30 Papua time, dozens of students led by Samuel Womsiwor were pushed back by the police in Waena, meanwhile the police disperse dozens of students in Kota Raja at 09:00 Papua time. Other students organized by Nelius Wenda and Malvin Yobe successfully conducted demonstration in the USTJ campus arena from 10:00 – 12:00 due to prior permit from the campus authority. At around 12:00 Papua time, Philipus Robaha and GempaR Secretary General joined them and led forty students to walk across Merpati but they were blocked by the police and prohibited to go to the Papua Parliament Office.

Womsiwor admitted being upset for the police’s act because GempaR has sent a letter to the Abepura Police on 5 May for permission to voice people’s aspiration to the Papua’s Parliament. “We are very upset with the police. We have sent a letter to the police since 5 May but the police didn’t want to issue the permit without giving any reason and today come to ban our protest. So we can not walk to the Parliament Office to voice our aspiration,” he said. (Arnold Belau/rom)

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