The four Australians were captured in this photograph taking part in a pro-independence demonstration in Sorong, West Papua, on Aug. 27. (Photo courtesy of the Immigration Department at the Justice and Human Rights Ministry)
Four Australians Deported From West Papua for Participating in Pro-Independence Rally
BY :TELLY NATHALIA
SEPTEMBER 02, 2019
Jakarta. The Immigration Office in Sorong, West Papua, on Monday deported four Australian citizens who allegedly participated in a pro-independence rally in the city last month.
"The Sorong Immigration Office has deported four Australian citizens who allegedly took part in a rally organized by OAP [Indigenous Papuans] in front of the Sorong Mayor's office to demand independence for Papua," Ujo Sujoto, a spokesman for the Immigration Department at the Justice and Human Rights Ministry, said in a statement on Monday.
The four Australians – one man and three women – were flown out of West Papua from the Dominique Edward Osok Airport in Sorong at 7 a.m. Eastern Indonesia Time on a Batik Air flight to Bali via Makassar in South Sulawesi. They will be put on another flight to Australia.
They were identified as 37-year-old Tom Baxter, 36-year-old Cheryl Melinda Davidson, 31-year-old Danielle Joy Heller and 25-year-old Ruth Irene Cobbold.
Baxter, Heller and Cobbold will be deported to Sydney on a Qantas flight departing from Bali at 10.25 p.m. Central Indonesia Time on Monday.
Davidson will be deported on Sept. 4 on a Virgin Airlines flight.
"They were seen joining an OAP demonstration to demand Papua independence on Aug. 27 in front of the Sorong Mayor's office," the Immigration Office said.
All of them had applied for a tourist visa-on-arrival at the airport when they arrived in Indonesia.
Violent pro-Papua independence protests have taken place in several cities in Papua and West Papua, including Sorong, since Aug. 19.
The protests were triggered by a series of racist incidents against students from Papua on the island of Java, including in Surabaya, the capital of East Java, where a boarding house for Papuan students was besieged by an angry crowd who called them "monkeys."