Legislator called for stringent law enforcement in Papua

Biak, Papua (ANTARA) – Legislator from the Ruling Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDIP) faction urged law enforcement agencies in Papua and West Papua provinces to impose stern sanctions against rioters involved in a spate of protests against the Surabaya incident.

“The suspects are liable to face legal sanctions,” Komarudin Watubun, a member of parliament and special envoy of PDIP leader Megawati Soekarnoputri, stated before leaving Biak Numfor District for Jayapura on Monday.

A spate of violence erupted across different parts of Papua and West Papua as a knee-jerk reaction to the Surabaya incident that had triggered public ire among native Papuans. Over this past week, native Papuans in various parts of the provinces of Papua and West Papua demonstrated to protest against alleged racist slurs targeting the Papuan students in Surabaya, East Java, on August 16.

On August 29, the indigenous Papuan residents of Jayapura, the capital city of Papua, again staged rallies, pouring out their anger over the alleged racist slurs against their Papuan compatriots in Surabaya, but their rally then turned violent.

The brutal demonstrators went on a rampage, vandalizing and setting alight several government buildings. The demonstrators also intentionally damaged the office of ANTARA, Indonesia’s national news agency, in the city on Thursday.

On August 28, a wave of violence also broke out in Deiyai District, some 500 kilometers away from Jayapura, ending in the deaths of an army soldier and two civilians.

Watubun remarked that the violent rallies that concluded with government buildings, corporate offices, as well as ordinary people’s kiosks and houses being scorched and vandalized had hindered the local residents’ economic activities.

This situation must be placated, and the governments, along with related stakeholders, should find peaceful solutions to the root cause of problems in Papua and West Papua. In restoring and maintaining peace there, the community members must also put an end to all forms of anarchism.

“The land of Papua represents a miniature Indonesia. Its people live in peaceful coexistence and harmony. Hence, peace in Papua should not be disrupted by anarchist actions that threaten law and order in society,” he stated.

A violent protest was firstly staged by several thousand people in Manokwari, West Papua Province, on August 19. During the rally, a local parliamentary building was set ablaze. The demonstrators also torched tires in several parts of the city and main streets.

However, National Police Chief General Tito Karnavian stated that normalcy was restored in Manokwari. He also ordered the police chiefs of Papua and West Papua to adopt security measures and avoid the use of undue force.

Source: ANTARA News