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Thousands stage rallies across West Papua to demand referendum

Papua protest

Sit-in protesters in Abepura demand referendum over future with Indonesia. Photo: West Papua News Info

Pacific Scoop:
Report – By Victor Yeimo in Jayapura

Thousands of the people of West Papua, coordinated by the West Papua National Committee, have held rallies across Papua to demand a referendum to be held in West Papua.

The demonstration was to mark the “illegal occupation” by Indonesia in West Papua on May 1, 1961.

They also give a full mandate to the government of Vanuatu, International Lawyers for West Papua ( ILWP) and International Parliamentarians for West Papua (IPWP) to bring the political issue of West Papua to the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

The rally was carried out from Sentani, Abepura and Jayapura. Many people came from every regency, town  and city.

Participants included students, Indonesian security force victims, and the witnesses of Pepera 1969  – the so-called “act of rree choice”.

Protesters in the streets in the city of Abe, Jayapura and Sentani were brought to a complete standstill.

Mass sit-in
At the Lingkaran Abe, the heart of the city in Abepura, there was a mass sit-in, where open platform speeches were made by participants and a joint petition was signed.

According to Victor Yeimo, International Spokesperson of KNPB, this rally was held to demonstrate to the Indonesian and international community that the people of West Papua want self-determination thought a Referendum as a final and democratic solution.

“We want to show Indonesia and the international community that we are not just a handful of people who want independence. All people of West Papua want to be free,” he said.

Mako Tabuni, KNPB vice chairman, read the petition and invited the people of West Papua to unite, and support the legal process which is being driven at the international level.

Benny Wenda, a West Papuan leader in exile, also spoke directly from London via mobile to the thousands of people of West Papua at the rally.

The KNPB invited West Papuan people to join the next demonstrations to be held across all of West Papua.

Source:  West Papua Media Alerts