Security forces reportedly fired warning shots to disperse a student protest in the Papua province capital Jayapura on Tuesday, October 27, over the proposed extension of the region's Special Autonomy law. Police are reported to have broken up the demonstration in the Waena area of the city on Tuesday afternoon, citing restrictions on public gatherings due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, before allegedly pursuing a number of students into their dormitories in order to make arrests. At least one protester was injured in the clashes, but it is currently unclear whether they were hit by a round fired by police. A further 13 people were arrested following the unrest.
Further protests and associated localized disruptions are likely in the Waena area and elsewhere in Jayapura in the medium term.
Student groups and local community activists have staged a number of protests in Jayapura and other areas of Papua province in recent months over the proposed extensions of the 2001 Special Autonomy law for the region. Although the legislation is intended to grant the region a greater share of revenue from its extensive natural resources in order to promote development, communities have long complained that they are yet to see significant benefits from the policy, with access to healthcare and education remaining limited in many areas of the province.
Those in Jayapura are advised to monitor the situation, anticipate localized disruptions, and adhere to all instructions issued by local authorities.
Due to the risk of rebel attacks in rural areas, all those in Papua province are advised to exercise a high level of vigilance and report any suspicious activity or items to security forces. Travelers should monitor local media sources for related updates and heed all directives issued by local authorities.
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