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Indonesia cracks down as West Papua protests spread

A 2012 protest in Melbourne, Australia, ssupporting West Papuan independence.
A 2012 protest in Melbourne, Australia, ssupporting West Papuan independence.

Racist incidents against Papuans in the Indonesian capital of Java have reignited a long-simmering independence movement in West Papua itself.

This new wave of protests has spread to 30 other cities around the archipelago nation, and dozens of protestors have been killed.

Papuans are marginalized across the Indonesia and even in their own home region. Racism is rampant — slurs such as “dogs” and “monkeys” are common — and locals say human-rights abuses and government neglect are common.

https://i0.wp.com/cdn.pixabay.com/photo/2017/04/28/05/02/highlands-2267369_960_720.jpg?ssl=1
West Papuan highlanders. Source: Pixabay

Displaying the banned Morning Star flag of Papua can bring a jail sentence — but pro-independence protestors are now risking this and more as the region explodes in demonstrations met by lethal force from Indonesian security forces.

With more than a touch of irony, the demonstrators’ banners proclaim Papua merdeka, itu yang monyet inginkan — “Free Papua, this is what the monkeys want.”

Source: The Guardian, Australian Broadcasting Corporation

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