Dispersal of peaceful assembly in Jayapura – Police arrests 107 KNPB supporters and ill-treats four activists

Members of the Jayapura municipality police dispersed a peaceful assembly organised by the West Papua National Committee (KNPB) at the Pegunungan Bintang Student Dormitory in Perumnas III residential area in Waena, where the organisation celebrated the 10th Anniversary. According to online media outlet Suara Papua, 150 officers of the crowd control unit DALMAS backed up by military members forcefully dispersed the peaceful assembly on 19 November 2018, at 10.15 am. The police arrested 107 KNPB activists and temporarily detained them at the Jayapura Municipality Police Station (Mapolresta Jayapura). Among the arrested activists were the secretary of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP) Markus Haluk (see intro image), the KNPB chairman Agus Kossay, and the KNPB secretary Vero Hubi.

According to KNPB Spokesman Ones Suhuniap, the police officers forced their way into the dormitory premises without showing a warrant and arrested all present activists. Several hours prior to the incident, the police came to the local KNPB brancDoor KNPB BranchOfficeh office, broke parts of the equipment and seized documents as well as office and food supplies. A police officer allegedly took a brush and crossed a painting of the morning star flag on the entrance door (see image on the right). Police forces conducted the operation without showing a warrant to the KNPB activists. Ones Suhuniap stated that officers ill-treated two KNPB activists who were preparing food as the police searched the KNPB office. Two KNPB supporters were subjected to beatings during the arrest at the student dormitory. It is currently unclear how many activist were released and whether the police will press charges against KNPB leaders.

The Police Chief Gustaf R. Urbinas explained in a public interview with Suara Papua.com that public events in Jayapura need to be previously approved by the police. He claimed that the assembly was illegal because the KNPB had not arranged the permission prior to the event and is not subscribed at the government body for National Unity and Politics (Kesbangpol) as a legal organisation.