On Monday, August 19, protesters in Manokwari, the capital of Indonesia's West Papua province, set fire to the local parliament building to denounce police discrimination against Papuan students. The protests were triggered by the arrests of 43 Papuan students during Independence Day celebrations in Surabaya on Saturday, August 17. Demonstrations were also reported in the cities of Sorong and Jayapura. There were no reports of casualties, and Papuan officials claim the situation has been contained by security forces.
Similar demonstrations may be held across West Papua over the coming days amid a heavy police presence. Transportation and business disruptions are to be expected near demonstration sites.
Security forces stormed a university dormitory in Surabaya on August 17, rounding up 43 students accused of desecrating the Indonesian flag. The students, who were reportedly subjected to racial abuse, were released from custody on August 18.
Individuals in Indonesia are advised to remain vigilant and exercise caution when traveling to Papua and West Papua, adhere to instructions issued by local authorities (e.g. travel permits) and their home governments, and avoid all public demonstrations.
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