Protesters accused of treason for supporting West Papua

Ternate, Indonesia – Police claim that demands raised by the Pro-Democracy Social Movement (Gema Pro-Demkrat) during a rally in Ternate, North Maluku, to commemorate Youth Pledge Day on 28 October were an act of treason.

One of the people who attended the protest action, Rudi, said that the Gema Pro-Demkrat rally took up 10 demands. One of them, however, was deemed to be treason, namely, “Withdraw the TNI [Indonesian military] from the Land of Papua to Indonesia and dissolve the [TNI’s] territorial commands”.

“[Only] one of them, the police and military made a fuss over the demand about the TNI and our fourth demand. We made this demand because of the many human rights violations, such as violence against the Papuan people, that are committed either by military or Indonesian police officers”, explained Rudi.

According to the police, the demand was treasonous because it was not based on accurate evidence. Because of this, the police will again summon representatives from the group and question them.

Gema Pro-Demkrat is made up of the Student Struggle Centre for National Liberation, Social Solidarity Action for the Indonesian People, the Indonesian Student Union, the Student Movement for Social Concern, the Indonesian Student League for Democracy, Indonesian Student Horizon and the educational groups KPRO, PIPS-PKN and the English Students Association .

Gema Pro-Demkrat took up a number of demands, including: opposing the free market system, opposing the commercialisation of education, the withdrawal of the TNI from the Land of Papua to Indonesia and disbanding the territorial military commands, that the municipal government form a team to identify and protect water sources in Ternate, an end to criminalisation on campus, providing decent locations for street vendors and providing the broadest possible democracy to the people.

The groups said that if these demands are not met they would continue to urge the people to boycott the activities of the Ternate municipal government.

First published at Translated by James Balowski for the Indoleft News Service