This photo illustration shows a demonstration in Jayapura, Papua, in May 2016. Reports of human rights abuses often emerge from Indonesia's easternmost province, where a separatist movement has simmered for decades. (Antara Photo/Indrayadi T.H.)

Spanish Man Among Hundreds Detained in Free West Papua Rally


JUNE 16, 2016

Jakarta. A Spanish national was among hundreds of people detained on Wednesday (15/06) for attempting to stage a rally in Jayapura to support West Papua's independence and reject a reconciliation plan prepared by the Indonesian government.

Thousands of protesters from pro-independence group West Papua National Committee, or KNPB, had descended from neighboring districts into Jayapura but were intercepted by the police before they could reach the Papua Provincial Council office in Jayapura.

The KNPB has rejected a reconciliation plan prepared by Chief Security Minister Luhut Panjaitan, arguing that the Indonesian government is still pursuing repressive tactics toward pro-independence Papuans.

Among the detained protesters was Andreu Arino I Prats, a Spanish national and a student at Fisica University in Barcelona.

Papua Police spokesman Sr. Comr. Patrige Renwarin told Vivanews the police are questioning the Spanish national about his involvement with the KNPB.

According to the police, Prats entered Indonesia through the border city of Tarakan in North Kalimantan around two and a half months ago.

“He had just been here in Jayapura for two days and decided to join the protest,” Patrige said.

KNPB claimed more than 1,236 activists had been detained in West Papua and Papua for taking part in a number of rallies since June 10.

“Most of the detained activists had been released, but only after much questioning by the police. In Nabire, the police held them in custody for a whole day,” KNPB spokesman Bazoka Logo told local media Suara Papua.