The Manado Police arrested more than 70 Papuan students who were about to stage a rally on Monday, accusing them of treason.
The police detained them as they were preparing for rallies in two locations in Manado, North Sulawesi. Some of the students were arrested in Papuan Student Dorm while others were arrested in the front yard of North Sulawesi Council. The police said they confiscated Bintang Kejora or Morning Star paraphernalia associated with Papua’s independence movement.
In 2016, Papuan students in Manado had attempted to stage three rallies. Each one was dispersed by the police.
According to data made available to The Jakarta Post by Veronica Koman, the lawyer of Papuan self-determination activist Filep Karma, the rallies on Dec. 19 were held in Jayapura, Merauke, Nabire, Yogyakarta, Manado, Wamena, Jakarta, Sorong, Manokwari, Timika, Yahukimo, Bandung, Ternate and Ambon.
The lawyer said a total of 528 people were arrested Monday, with Wamena recording the highest number of people arrested (165 people, 15 were released).
In Jayapura, the arrest involved beatings, Veronica said, and seven people were badly injured. (evi)