Government has deployed at least 1000 police officers to West Papua in order to control the ongoing unrest on Thursday, August 22. Authorities have also temporarily cut off internet communication in Papua and West Papua as of Wednesday, August 21, stating it would accelerate government efforts to restore order. They added that communication will remain cut off until the situation is assessed to be normal.
Further protests are likely across Papua, West Papua, and potentially in Jakarta in the coming several days. Heightened security measures and transportation and business disruptions are to be expected near demonstration sites.
Violent protests were reported in West Papua and Papua provinces on August 21. In Fakfak (West Papua), police used tear gas to disperse crowd after protesters burnt parts of a market and an official building while blocking roads leading to Fakfak Airport (FKQ). In Timika (Papua), protesters reportedly threw rocks at the parliament building, houses, shops, and a hotel.
The protests come after 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. Similar protests were held across West Papua on August 19 and August 20, as thousands of people took to the streets to denounce the events. Related demonstrations were reported in Manokwari, Sorong, Jayapura, and other cities in the province.
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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