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Peace ( by Voice of Baptist Papua)

Home » » Papua rejects heavy military presence

Papua rejects heavy military presence

Written By Voice Of Baptist Papua on November 4, 2008 | 5:31 PM

By The Jakarta Post , Papua Nov 4, 2008, 12:02
Email this article Printer friendly pageAround 100 protesters from the International Parliament for West Papua (IPWP) staged a rally Monday against an alleged increase in militarism in Papua outside the Provincial Legislative Council building.

"We reject militarism in Papua. We see more and more fully armed Indonesia Military (TNI) soldiers milling around in villages and towns," IPWP Papua coordinator Buchtar Tabuni (standing left in military attire) said in his speech. "The soldiers are supposed to ward off expansion threats from outside, not watch people in towns."

Buchtar said the number of armed troops in Papua gave the impression there was a war taking place. He said the military presence was particularly strong on Oct. 16 when a rally was staged to celebrate IPWP's establishment. The organization was founded in London by two British parliamentarians with the aim of revising the 1969 Act of Free Choice, or Pepera referendum. The IPWP believed the act was unfair because it was based on a representative system rather than the one-person-one-vote principle. "There were so many soldiers conducting searches on the day, when it is the duty of police to secure public order," Buchtar said. The TNI is fighting a low-level armed rebellion waged by the Free Papua Movement (OPM) separatist group. Buchtar also asked the Papuan legislative council speaker John Ibo to arrange a meeting with Papua's provincial police chief and the Cendrawasih Military Command chief regarding the increasing number of soldiers in Papua.

John said he would pass on the protesters' request to the authorities and seek explanations.
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