West Papuan protesters clashed with police in the Indonesian capital of Jakarta on Thursday as they made calls for the regions independence.
Organizers claimed that police denied them permissions to protest.
Papua Students Alliance made up the majority of protestors and they chanted “Freedom Papua” despite hundreds of police monitoring the demonstration in which they fired water cannons and dragged men from the crowd into waiting police vans.
“Don’t hinder our right to voice our aspirations. Papuans are demanding the truth of our history,” a speaker standing atop a small truck shouted at the crowd.
Indonesia commit gross human right abuses against the native Papuans who have seen their island resources looted and gross demographic changes occur from a Melanesian majority to predominantly Indonesian, specifically colonizers from Java.
Voice of America explains the situation.
The Dutch colonizers of the Indonesian archipelago held onto West Papua when Indonesia became independent after World War II. It became part of Indonesia following a U.N.-supervised referendum in 1969 criticized as undemocratic.
A low-level insurgency has plagued the mineral-rich region, which is ethnically and culturally distinct from much of Indonesia, for years.
The Indonesian government, which for decades had a policy of sending Javanese and other Indonesians to settle in Papua, is now also trying to spur economic development to dampen the separatist movement.