Jayapura, Jubi – Papuan activist Victor Yeimo, who is recently arrested by the police for allegedly provoking riots in the antiracism protests in Jayapura City on August 29, 2019, denies the allegation, saying he did not even join the protest on that day.
“I was not there, I was not involved. Even I did not want the protest [on August 29] to happen, I told my activist friends not to protest further because I noticed that the situation has changed,” Yeimo said on Tuesday, May 18, 2019.
Yeimo indeed joined the first antiracism protest on August 19, 2019. He said that at that time, he gave a speech because the other Papuans who joined the protest asked him to.
“I had thousands of masses under control as I held the mic after the people told me to speak up. That was when I told them there should be no violence. I repeatedly talked [about avoiding violence] and the protest on August 19 went safely and under control. We all know this part is true,” said Yeimo.
Yeimo, who is the international spokesperson of the West Papua National Committee (KNPB) and initiator of the Papuan People’s Petition, said that his speech in the August 19 protest was an expression of an Indigenous Papuan who was hurt and angry when his brothers and sisters, the Papuan students in Surabaya, East Java, were racially abused by mass organizations and security personnel.
Yeimo further asked the police to show the evidence of him joining the protest on August 29. “If I was arrested and accused of being in charge of rioters during the protest on August 29, what is the evidence? I did not join the protest, not as a participant nor an orator,” he stated.
Member of Papuan People’s Assembly Pastor Nikolaus Degei, who visited Yeimo at the Papua Mobile Brigade headquarters on Tuesday with lawmaker of Papuan Legislative Council John NR Gobai, said the police must be careful in handling Yeimo’s case as the world was watching.
“I have told the Papua Police chief to consider wisely because if Yeimo was only arrested for allegedly leading the antiracism protest [on August 29], he was not involved,” Degei said.
Alexander Gobai, one of the seven activists found guilty of treason by the Balikpanan District Court in June 2020 for their involvement in the antiracism protest, said Yeimo’s arrest was unreasonable.
“Victor Yeimo being arrested for allegedly involved in the antiracism protest is very wrong because seven people have already paid the price, there is nothing left,” Gobai said, adding that he hoped Yeimo could be released immediately.
Reporter: Abeth You
Editor: Aryo Wisanggeni G