Police response outside Indonesian Embassy fails to silence Canberra Papua protest

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Article by AsiaPacificReport.nz

Police move in on protesters for West Papua outside the Indonesian Embassy in Canberra, ACT, on Friday. Image: AWPA

About 20 protesters in support of West Papuan self-determination were defiant in the face of Indonesian nationalism “blasted at them from the embassy” and a police response in Canberra at the weekend.

“It is an immature and childish response from the Indonesian embassy,” said Anthony Rumbiak, one of the rally organisers.

The West Papua human rights protest at the Indonesian Embassy in Canberra on Friday. Image: AWPA

With speeches underway, West Papuans and supporters blocked the entrance to the Indonesian Embassy by staging a “massacre” in protest against continuing human rights abuses in West Papua.

Australian police responded immediately to protect Indonesia’s “sensitivity” and to avoid further pressure from their officials who stood among them.

One supporter was arrested and taken into custody for failure to provide a name and address. The activist was refused bail.

The Australian police reaction showed continuous protection of the Indonesian government and bowing to its pressure rather than question their treatment of West Papua’s indigenous people, protest organisers said.

The West Papuan struggle continues to gain momentum at the international level and remains a thorn in the side of the Indonesian state.

“The support for a Free West Papua shall not be silenced in Australia and it’s about time the Indonesian government must engage with West Papua’s legitimate body,” said Lewis Prai Wellip, one of the West Papuan activist leaders who travelled from Melbourne to Canberra.

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