Violent protests were reported in West Papua and Papua provinces on Wednesday, 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.
While the situation is reportedly contained in both provinces, further such protests are to be expected in Papua and West Papua over the coming days and weeks, amid a heavy police presence. Transportation and business disruptions are to be expected near demonstration sites.
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 the streets to denounce the events. Protesters reportedly set fire to the local parliament building on August 19, before being dispersed by police officers. 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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