Police fire tear gas inside USTJ campus to disperse rally

tear gas
A number of seven students gave speeches and carried the Morning Star flag during an action to commemorate the 22nd anniversary of the assassination of the Chairperson of the Presidium of the Papuan Council, Theys Hiyo Eluay, which took place at the Jayapura University of Science and Technology Campus, Jayapura City, Thursday (10/11/2022). - Jubi/Hengky Yeimo

Jayapura, Jubi – Police dispersed the 22nd commemoration of the assassination of Papua Presidium Council leader Theys Hiyo Eluay held by students at the Jayapura University of Science and Technology (USTJ) in Jayapura City on Thursday, November 10, 2022.

Police fired tear gas, beat students and lecturers, and arrested a number of students who gave speeches and raised the Morning Star flag.

USTJ vice rector III Isak Rumbarar said he was kicked in the chest by police. At the time, Rumbarar was trying to prevent clash between students and police. Rumbarar said the police fired tear gas at the students.

“The security forces came in fully armed. More forces entered the campus and that only made the students angry. The police issued warning shots and fired tear gas at the students and they dispersed,” Rumbarar said.

Rumbarar said he had listened to the speeches delivered by students at the commemoration. According to him, the students spoke about human rights violations that occurred in the Land of Papua. The students also stated that they rejected the dialogue attempt initiated by the National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM).

Rumbarar said that there had been various protests held by USTJ students but never once violent dispersal by the police such as happened on Thursday. “On this campus, there are often rallies but nothing like what happened today,” he said.

He hopes that USTJ students can return to class on Friday. He will also take care of the seven students who were arrested by the police.

“I will go to the police station to provide clarification for the students who have been taken by the police,” he said.

Jayapura City Police Operations Section chief Adj. Comr. MBY Hanafi said the use of tear gas in the dispersal of the 22nd commemoration against the murder of Theys Hiyo Eluay was in accordance with procedure.

“The security forces fired tear gas to disperse the crowd and it was according to Standard Operating Procedure,” Hanafi told Jubi when at the university on Thursday.

Hanafi said they also arrested nine students of the Jayapura University of Science and Technology. They were arrested after raising two Morning Star flags and delivering political speeches. Hanafi emphasized that raising the Morning Star flag is prohibited by the State. (*)

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