++ Live Ticker: 1st December Commemorations in West Papua, Indonesia and other parts of the world++

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Status: 10.12.2020

1 December 2020, Jakarta

The Papuan Student Alliance (Aliansi Mahasiswa Papua, AMP) and the Indonesian People's Front for West Papua (FRI-WP) held a peaceful protest in Indonesia's capital, Jakarta. The students carried banners and shirts with Morning Star symbols shouting “Independence for Papua!” (Bahasa Indonesia: “Papua Merdeka!”). Police officers closely accompanied the protest. The officers allowed the students to carry out the rally (see photo below).

AMP Protest Jakarta

Suva, 1 December 2020
The Pacific Conference of Churches (PCC) organised a prayer session in front of the PCC headquarters in Suva, Fiji. Christian youth and other PCC members had come together in solidarity with their Melanesian brothers and sisters in West Papua to commemorate the 1st December peacefully. Rev James Bhagwan, the PCC General Secretary, appealed to the Government of Indonesia to stop the series of killings and all government policies which lead to a demographic change in West Papua. At the end of the prayer session, Rev. Bhagwan raised the Morning Star Flag in front of the PCC headquarters (see photo below, source: Suara Papua).

Apart from Fiji, human rights activists in other parts of the world raised the Morning Star Flag, among them in several cities in Australia, Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea, Great Britain, and Poland. Also in New Zealand people demonstrated outside the parliament today.

PCC Suva Flagraising

Melbourne, 1 December 2020
Six political activists managed to climb on the roof of the Indonesian Embassy in Melbourne, Australia. Two of them were holding a banner with a picture of the Morning Star flag with the message "Free West Papua", while four others held a Morning Star flag and a poster with the message, "TNI [Indonesian military] Out, Stop Killing Papua". The video of the campaigning activity later went viral on social media.

Dogiyai, 1 December 2020
Similar as in many other Papuan regencies, the West Papua National Committee (KNPB) in the regency of Dogiyai commemorated the 1st December with a prayer session and a traditional earth oven (Bhs Indonesia: Bakar Batu). Previously, KNPB Chairperson, Warpo Wetipo, had appealed on all civil movements in West Papua to commemorate the 1st December through prayer sessions instead of mass gatherings.

Sinjai, 1 December 2020
Police reportedly arrested 15 demonstrators from the Indonesian People's Front for West Papua (FRI-WP) during a protest action at the Bamboo Monument in Sinjai, Sulawesi Selatan Province and temporarily detained them at the Sanjai District Police Office. The demonstration only lasted for about five minutes before intelligence Police officers approached the protesters, took away their banners and the megaphone and dispersed the crowd.

Ternate, 1 December 2020
1st December commemorations also took place in front of the Barito Market in Ternate, North Maluku Province. Police officers forcibly dispersed the peaceful demonstration. The protesters expressed their opposition towards the extension of Special Autonomy, called for the Omnibus Law to be revoked and demanded more democracy for the Papuan people.

Ternate district police chief Assistant Superintendent Aditya Laksimada justified the dispersal of the demonstration. According to Laksimada, the protesters did not have a receipt of a written notification of the demonstration with police, although they had already confirmed the rally with police beforehand. He also alleged the protesters of violating the COVID-19 health protocols and emphasized that the content of the protest was causing division of the nation.

Surabaya, 1 December 2020
Protesters from the Papua Student Alliance (AMP) held a demonstration in commemoration of the 1st December at the Negara Grahadi building in the East Java provincial capital of Surabaya. The protesters were wearing traditional Papuan clothes and carried banners with the Morning Star (Bintang Kejora) independence flag, gave speeches and sung protest songs. Police members closely monitored the demonstration but allowed the protest to proceed.

Yogyakarta, 1 December 2020
In Yogyakarta, over thousand students from the Free Papua December 1st Movement Alliance conducted a long-march from the Papuan student dormitory to the nearby Zero Kilometre point in front of the central post office. During the march the protesters shouted slogans such as "Free West Papua", "NKRI no" and "Referendum yes". The situation threatened to escalate when security personnel tried to move into the crowd to arrest some protesters. However, the demonstrators succeeded in blocking them and the situation returned to normal.

Bangkok, 30 November 2020
The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) of the UN issued a statement (text and video) about the ongoing violations relating to protests against the prolongation of the autonomy law, recent killings of church workers and the ongoing political conflict in West Papua. The OHCHR urged “the Government of Indonesia to uphold people’s rights to freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and association in line with its international obligations, particularly ahead of 1 December, when there are often protests, tensions and arrests.”

Makassar, 30 November 2020
A police officer visited a Papuan dormitory in Makassar, South Sulawesi Province. The officer came to check whether the students were preparing a political activity at the dormitory. The students recorded the officer with their mobile phone and posted the video on social media. They understood the unannounced visit as an act of intimidation.

Ambon, 30 November 2020
Around 10.20 pm, members of the police, plain cloth officers, a military member, a lecturer from the UNPATTI University and a local administrative official (RT) came to the Papuan student dormitory in the city of Ambon, Maluku Province. The officers asked the residents “How many residents are inside the dormitory? Are there any persons who are not Papuans?”. Even though the police did not show any warrant, the group forced their way into the dormitory.

One of the dormitory residents stated “the TNI, Indonesian police, intelligence [officers], closed off the two roads leading to our place of residence. They were helped by local people". The situation escalated at around 3.30 am when the crowd pelted the dormitory with stones. There were six such incidents accompanied by abuse.

The students understood the visit as an act of intimidation. Police officers reportedly provoked the students by pushing them aside as they entered the living room inside the dormitory. Bystanders outside the dormitory reportedly made discriminative comments like “they do not commemorate the 17th August” [Indonesian Independence Day] and “they don’t know how to be thankful [for studying here]”. Bystanders allegedly called the students “savages” (“smerlap”), “Dogs”, “Pigs” and “Animals”. According to the dormitory residents the mob in front of the dormitory attempted to break down the front gate.

Merauke, 30 November 2020
Joint security force members entered the local West Papua National Committee (KNPB) office in Merauke and arrested five KNPB activists and Mrs Pangkrasi Yeem in the early morning of 30 November 2020. The officers reportedly entered the office and arbitrarily arrested Mrs Yeem and the five activists without showing a warrant. They allegedly damaged parts of the office as they carried out the arrests.

The reason for the arrest is not known – there was no meeting or any other form of political activity at the KNPB office. All arrestees were subsequently detained at the Merauke District Police headquarters. After the police interrogation, Mrs Yeem was released. Charles Sraun (39 years), Petrus Paulus (32 years), Marius Aiman (27 years), Kristian Yandu (39 years) and Yagya (24 years) remain in police custody (see photo on top). A local police representative declared that charges would be pressed against the activists for alleged violation of Article 106 of the Indonesian Criminal Code (KUHP) on treason. The officers found a morning star flag and documents in support of an independence referendum inside the office.

The KNPB is a movement organisation which advocates the right to self-determination through peaceful protests, civil resistance and other forms of non-violent activity.    

Manokwari, 27 November 2020
Police officers dispersed a peaceful protest and reportedly arrested 29 persons in the Amban area.

Sorong, 27 November 2020

Joint security force members dispersed a peaceful demonstration in the city of Sorong, Papua Barat Province, with teargas and water cannons. Human rights activists published a video which shows security force members dragging multiple protesters into a police truck. Police officers reportedly also used excessive force against other protesters, including beatings. One protester was injured as a teargas grenade hit him on the chest. Six protesters with the initials CD (18 years), DP (30 years), FS (51 years), JB (39 years), HN (56 years) and BF (66 years) were charged with treason for carrying banners and other demonstration materials with the Morning Star Symbol.

The rally temporarily escalated after protesters saw police officers ill-treating an older man during arrest. Two police officers were reportedly injured as the protesters threw stones and bottles at the security forces. At least seven protesters were arrested and taken into custody.

Around 3.00 pm, the police had fully dispersed the demonstration. The local police chief, Arinyoto, explained that the demonstration was dispersed because the rally was disturbing public order. Moreover, the protest was not authorized because its content would allegedly violate national legal provisions about the expression of opinions in public. The arrested protesters remained in custody.

London, 25 November 2020
The chairperson of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua called upon all international solidarity activists around the world to raise the Morning Star flag on 1 December 2020, as the day is of historical importance for West Papuans.

Table with the total number of arrests in relation to West Papuan 1st December Commemorations in Indonesia


Place of arrest

Date of arrest

Number of arrested protesters

Additional information





Arbitrary arrests and detention, excessive use of force against protesters, six protesters charged under treason provisions





Arbitrary arrests and detention, excessive use of force against protesters





Arbitrary arrests and detention, parts of the KNPB office deliberately damaged, five activists charged under treason provisions





Intimidation and harassment of Papuan students





Intimidation and harassment of Papuan students





arbitrary arrest and temporary detention