Jakarta. Police have charged 10 people with damaging public facilities in Timika in Papua and Manokwari in West Papua during violent demonstrations on Monday triggered by acts of racism against Papuan students in Semarang, Malang and Surabaya last weekend.
In Surabaya, an angry mob besieged a boarding house occupied by Papuan students. A video that went viral on the internet showed members of the crowd calling the Papuan students "monkeys" and telling them to leave Surabaya.
The incident caused a furore on social media and sparked unrest in Papua and West Papua on Monday.
Some of the demonstrators in Manokwari and Sorong in West Papua and Timika and Jayapura in Papua had caused damages to government buildings and public facilities.
"Initially we had a list of 34 suspects. After further investigation, we've charged 10 people. One of them was found with a sharp weapon," National Police spokesman Comr. Asep Adi Saputra said in Jakarta on Friday.
The suspects have been charged with violating Indonesia's Criminal Code and Emergency Law. Police said they are still trying to find out the motive of the crimes and the mastermind of the demonstrations.
In East Java, police have questioned 42 students from Papua and 12 other witnesses to find out who had provoked a mob to besiege the Papuan students' boarding house in Surabaya.
"We'll know more in the next two or three days. We have to compare the testimonies [of the witnesses] with what the experts say," East Java Police spokesman Comr. Frans Barung Mangera told the Jakarta Globe on Saturday.