Jayapura. Security members have arrested 14 people during a rally in the city of Jayapura by the supporters of Papua Governor Lukas Enembe, who has been named a suspect for alleged corruption and money laundering, police said on Wednesday.
Authorities have deployed a joint team of the police and the military to prevent Tuesday’s rally from becoming a massive-scale riot in the country's easternmost province.
Police said the 14 protesters were arrested for carrying “sharp weapons” and cocktail bombs.
"They are undergoing investigation and if no crime is committed they will be released,” Brig. Gen. Ramdani Hidayat, the deputy chief of the Papua Police, told reporters in the provincial capital.
He said officers seized knives, arrows, bows, a sword, nails, a catapult, and a cocktail bomb from protesters in separate locations.
But the officer said the “Save Governor Lukas Enembe" rally went on relatively peaceful on Tuesday.
The Corruption Eradication Commission, or KPK, charged Lukas with corruption and money laundering last week and has since attempted to interrogate him in person to no avail.
The governor has refused to be taken to the KPK headquarters in Jakarta and demanded that the interrogation take place in Jayapura. A close ally said thousands of people will march in Jayapura if the governor was forced to fly to the national capital.
A KPK commissioner alleged that the rally was initiated by the governor himself.
The anti-graft agency has yet to go into details about the ongoing case against Lukas, pending the result of his deposition.
But on Monday, Chief Security Minister Mohammad Mahfud MD hosted a joint news conference with the KPK and the Financial Transaction Reports and Analysis Center (PPATK) at his Jakarta office to reveal the governor’s gambling habit -- he allegedly has made payments of around 55 million Singapore dollars or US$39 million to overseas casinos since 2017.
It remains unclear if Lukas, who has been in office since 2013, has used taxpayers’ money for gambling.
He has been banned from traveling overseas since the KPK began the investigation earlier this month, while the PPATK also froze his bank accounts.