Police who shot protesters must be punished: LBH Papua

LBH Papua
Participants in the free pulpit action commemorating the 10th anniversary of the murder of Mako Tabuni which took place in Jayapura City on Tuesday (14/6/2022) put up posters calling for the fight against forgetting about the Mako Tabuni murder case that occurred on June 14, 2012. - Doc. LBH Papua

Jayapura, Jubi – The Papua Legal Aid Institute (LBH Papua) has asked the Jayapura City Police to punish their members who fired rubber bullets to disperse the rally commemorating the death of West Papua National Committee (KNPB) leader Mako Tabuni on Tuesday, June 14, 2022.

Director of LBH Papua Emanuel Gobay said at least four rally participants were allegedly injured by rubber bullets, namely Aris Nepsan, Jon Kadepa, Benediktus Tebai, and Natan Pigai. They were injured on the forehead, head, hands, and buttocks respectively.

Gobay said the use of rubber bullets to disperse demonstrations indicated a violation of Emergency Law No. 12/1951, which regulates the use of firearms. Gobay urged the police to legally process any personnel who fired rubber bullets at protesters.

“Law enforcement [against police brutality] has to be done instead of arresting the masses who exercise their democratic rights,” said Gobay in Jayapura City on Wednesday, June 15, 2022.

He emphasized that the commemoration of Mako Tabuni’s death took place peacefully. The participants did not block the road. The police, however, repressively dispersed the mass.

National Police Chief Regulation No. 16/2006 on Guidelines for Crowd Control has indeed regulated procedures for controlling protests. However, on the ground, the police in Papua often disperse demonstrations by making arrests, beatings, or even opening fire.

Gobay said that the police’s repressive way to disperse the mass would only add to the list of violence experienced by Papuans. In the past year, there have been at least 10 demonstrations that were disbanded by the police.

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“Why does violence keep occurring? What has been done by the National Police Chief, the Papua Police Chief, and the Jayapura City Police Chief to address this matter and educate police officers in Papua?” said Gobay. (*)

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