Papuan mama protest for representative market in Merauke

Hundreds of indigenous Papuan mama traders longmarch from Mopah New Market to MRPS Office. They demanded that the local government build a representative market in Merauke - JUBI/Emanuel Riberu

Merauke, Jubi – Hundreds of Indigenous Papuan mama (women/mothers)  who are members of the Association of Indigenous Papuan Mama Traders (IPM2AP) in Merauke Regency, South Papua, staged a protest demanding the local government to construct a representative market within the city of Merauke.

The peaceful demonstration on Monday (3/18/2024) took place at the South Papua People’s Council Office (MRPS) on Mandala Street in Merauke. Earlier, hundred of mamas conducted a long march from the New Mopah Market, two kilometers away from the MRPS Office. They carried banners and some of them delivered speeches along the way.

In front of the chairman and members of the MRPS, the Indigenous Papuan mama traders presented several demands, including urging the South Papua People’s Council to pressure the government to build a market specifically for indigenous Papuan traders behind SMP Negeri 2 Merauke.

Regarding the Blorep Market built by the Merauke Regency Government for indigenous Papuan traders, they requested that the market, located in Blorep, be designated as a venue for selling handicrafts and a training center for the economic development of indigenous Papuan mamas.

Another demand was for the mama traders to urge the MRPS to push for the construction of a market for indigenous Papuan traders behind SMP Negeri 2 Merauke. They hoped that this cultural institution could advocate for it through the provincial meeting and discuss it with the acting governor.

The indigenous Papuan mama traders also requested the MRPS to ensure and oversee the targeted implementation of grassroots economic programs or those aligned with the distribution of indigenous Papuan business actors in the new provincial territory.

“We also request that the MRPS immediately urge the South Papua Special Autonomy Acceleration Supervisory Body to ensure that the indigenous Papuan market becomes an agenda and a mandatory task for the government as part of the implementation of Presidential Regulation Number 121 of 2022,” said IPM2AP Coordinator, Mika Balagaize.

In their final demand.

Mika Balagaize urged the MRPS, the South Papua Provincial DPR, and the acting governor to issue regulations regarding the development of local food and the empowerment of Indigenous Papuan economies. These legal products aim to protect and serve as affirmative policies for indigenous Papuans there.

“Regarding the Blorep Market, we ask the MRPS to coordinate with the Merauke Regency Government to conduct a feasibility study for the market,” he said.

“We indigenous Papuan mama traders believe that the Blorep Market is not strategic because it is far from residential areas, so we fear that there will be no buyers there. Besides, there is no transportation access to the area, and the area is also deserted. Because it is deserted, there are often criminal cases there, which makes us afraid,” concluded Mika Balagaize.

Chairman of the South Papua People’s Council, Damianus Katayu, welcomed the peaceful demonstration conducted by the Indigenous Papuan mama traders in Merauke. He promised to convey the aspirations to the provincial government and the Merauke Regency Government. (*)

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