Violence in Papua Could Get Worse

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Violence has swept across Indonesian Papua in the last six weeks, starting with racist taunts against Papuan students in East Java, and moving back to Papua where protests against racism turned into larger pro-independence demonstrations.

On 28 August, police opened fire on demonstrators in Deiyai, a remote district in the central highlands, after an Indonesian soldier was killed by an arrow. Eight Papuans died from gunfire. The next day in Jayapura, a larger demonstration, organised by the pro-independence West Papua National Committee (KNPB), turned into a riot, with Papuans setting fire to government buildings and migrant-owned shops. Waves of arrests followed.

Sidney Jones writes for the Interpreter. She is a NYSEAN partner and the Director for the Institute for Policy Analysis of Conflict in Jarkarta.

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