16 Sep 2019

Indonesia arrests another Papuan activist

9:47 am on 16 September 2019

Police in Indonesia say they have arrested the Papuan activist Steven Itlay and uncovered a plot to stage more riots.

Police blockade the protest in Jayapura.

Police blockade the protest in Jayapura. Photo: Whens Tebay

Massive protests flared across the Indonesian occupied Papua and West Papua provinces last month, in reaction to racist treatment of Papuan students.

Demonstrators called for indepence from Indonesia and some protests turned violent.

The Jakarta Globe reported the police revealed the plot after arresting Mr Itlay, the head of the Mimika branch of the West Papua National Committee.

The police said they were investigating Mr Itlay's alleged involvement in riots last month, especially in Jayapura.

Mr Itlay is suspected of working with Benny Wenda, the chair of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua, to organize the riots, the police said.

Mr Wenda has denied orchestrating riots, and has blamed Indonesia for fostering conflict by arming settlers and directing militias.

Indonesia is ignoring the need for a peaceful transition to independence in the region through a legitimate self-determination referendum, he said.

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