Series of political arrests continues - 100 protesters arrested during peaceful commemorations in Java

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According to independent media outlet “Tabloid Jubi”, 100 protesters were arrested in the Javanese cities of Jakarta, Yogyakarta and Semarang on 15 August 2017, as they joined peaceful commemorations of the 'New York Agreement'. The protests were organized by the Indonesian Solidarity Group 'FRI West Papua' in cooperation with the 'Papuan Student Alliance' AMP. In all cities, members of multiple religious and nationalist mass organisations launched counter protests to prevent the commemorations, which also took place in other Indonesian cities like Malang, Bandung and Ternate (North Maluku). Tabloid Jubi reported that the arrests in Jakarta and Semarang were accompanied by violent acts against protesters. In Semarang the police arrested two lawyers, who had been at the assembly point to monitor the commemoration. The members of various religious and nationalist groups allegedly assisted the police to block and dissolve the pro-Papuan demonstrations.

The police in Indonesia continues to limit the freedom of expression and the freedom of assembly for particular political groups which are considered as interfering with the unitary state ideology of Indonesia. The Indonesian law guarantees the freedom of assembly for demonstrations. It requires demonstrators to inform the police beforehand but does not require a permit from the police. However,  the police usually uses the lack of a “police acknowledgement letter” (STTP) in response to a “notification letter for a demonstration” as reason to declare demonstrations illegal.

Table of unlawful arrests

Date Locations Arrests Reported Violations
15.08.2017 Semarang, Central Java 47 unlawful arrests, ill-treatments
Yogyakarta, Central Java 29 unlawful arrests
Jakarta 24 unlawful arrests, 5 protestors sustained injuries due to ill-treatments during arrest
Total 100