Student protest against G20 comply with rules but faced with police brutality

G20
Jayapura University of Science and Technology (USTJ) Student President, Ronny Tigi with Chair of the Cenderawasih University Student Representative Assembly, Abniel Doo (right), Deputy Action Coordinator, Alfa Hisage (left). - Jubi Hengky Yeimo

Jayapura, Jubi – Student president of the University of Science and Technology Jayapura (USTJ) Ronny Tigi said the student protest in Jayapura City to reject the G20 summit on Wednesday, November 16, 2022, was in accordance with the rule. However, the police still dispersed the demonstration.

“The action we held earlier was not violating the law and upholding the democracy that exists in this country,” Ronny Tigi said in a written statement.

Tigi said there were no rules prohibiting protesters from marching. However, the police pushed back the protesters who were going to march from the Cenderawasih University Campus in Abepura to the Papua Legislative Council (DPRP) Office.

“We regret the attitude of the police who are supposed to protect every citizen who wants to express their opinions in public. In fact, we were beaten using water canons, rattan, warning shots, and even stones thrown by the authorities at us, students,” he said.

Chairman of DPRP’s Special Group John NR Gobai criticized police actions to disperse the student protest. Gobai said that the democratic space in Papua was increasingly silenced.

“If students are always prohibited by the police from expressing their opinions at the DPRP Office, then what is the point of having the parliament? People want to convey their aspirations to the Papua parliament but they cannot. That is an act of silencing freedom of speech. In fact, any aspirations conveyed by the people to the DPRP must be accepted and heard,” Gobai said.

Separately, Jayapura City Police chief Adj. Sr. Comr. Victor Dean Mackbon said the protest against the G20 summit was disbanded by the police because the mass attacked the police.

“The protest started in an auditorium and the officers secured it well. However, the protesters were provoked so they went against the officer’s line and entered the road. They wanted to do a long march. We think this is bad so we pushed them back,” said Mackbon. (*)

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