Denpasar, Bali (ANTARA) - A group of Papuan students in Denpasar, Bali Province, held a peaceful demonstration on Thursday to express their angst over the racist abuse of their compatriots in Surabaya, East Java, on August 16.

The students congregated at the Renon Field and Roundabout. The Denpasar city police deployed 118 personnel to secure the rally. They were assisted by those from the Denpasar public order agency (Satpol PP) and "Pecalang," or Balinese traditional security guards.

Head of the Denpasar city police's operational department, Senior Commissioner I Nyoman Gatra, lauded the Papuan students for staging the rally in a peaceful and orderly manner.

While echoing their opinion in public areas, demonstrators are required to not exhibit anti-Indonesian sentiments; violate regulations, other people's human rights, and public order; and disrespect the moral values of society, Gatra pointed out.

The Surabaya incident has triggered protests from various groups of Papuan students currently studying in different cities outside the provinces of Papua and West Papua.

In Medan, North Sumatra Province, several Papuan students at the University of Sumatera Utara (USU) also expressed solidarity for their friends in Surabaya by staging a peaceful protest to echo the message of peace and justice.

In Lampung Province, the Association of Papuan Students (Ikmapal) urged President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) to divert more focus on Papuans’ welfare and social justice and bring to book those passing racist slurs against Papuan students in Surabaya.

Speaking in connection with the riots that recently broke out in several cities in the provinces of Papua and West Papua, Ikmapal Head Isaskar Bisbin noted that the Papuan people yet perceived the central government as having underestimated them and their homeland.

With PT Freeport Indonesia (PTFI), a mining company conducting exploration for ore containing copper, gold, and silver in the Grasberg minerals district in Papua Province, the Papuan people believe that their homeland has contributed significantly to the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia over the past decades.

"We have Freeport, whose gold is absorbed by the United States and Indonesia every day, but prosperity and justice continue to elude our people," Bisbin, a student of Lampung University's Civil Engineering Department, pointed out.

Resentment ran deep among Papuans over the perpetrators yet to be brought to court for their alleged racist behavior against the Papuan students in the East Java cities of Surabaya and Malang, he pointed out.

In restoring a sense of justice for the Papuans, Bisbin suggested that the central government take firm action against those, who had racially treated the Papuan students, by bringing them to court. "Saying sorry is not sufficient," he emphasized.
Related news: East Java Police avers no Papuan students faced racism


Translator: Ayu KP, Rahmad Nasution
Editor: Suharto
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