17 Aug 2018

49 West Papuan students released after police questioning

2:48 pm on 17 August 2018

All 49 West Papuan university students taken in for police questioning in the Indonesian city of Surabaya have been released, according to a legal aid group.

The protesters were arrested and held in the Surabaya police station.

The protesters were arrested and held in the Surabaya police station. Photo: Facebook/ Free West Papua Campaign

The incident on Wednesday night came on the anniversary of the transfer of administration over West Papua to Indonesia.

Before being taken in by police, the students had reportedly planned an event to discuss the anniversary of 1962's New York Agreement between the Netherlands and Indonesia regarding the administration of West New Guinea.

The plans were disrupted when the Papuans clashed with a group from Indonesia's nationalist Pancasila movement.

The group converged on the Papuans' dormitory and demanded the Indonesian flag be raised ahead of the country's independence day today.

Abdul Wachid, the director of the Surabaya Legal Aid Foundation, says police interrogated the students for 10 hours, before releasing them the next morning.

The water supply at the Papuan students' dormitory was cut off yesterday afternoon, said Indonesian human rights lawyer Veronica Koman.

The Indonesian government claimed they had not paid the water bill, said Ms Korman, but the dormitary is state-owned and the government normally pays its water bills.