World, Asia - Pacific

Riots flare in Indonesia after 'racist' student attack

Protesters block roads, burn tires, damage a number of public facilities, official says

Nicky Aulia Widadio, Umar Idris   | 19.08.2019
Riots flare in Indonesia after 'racist' student attack FILE PHOTO

JAKARTA

Riots broke out in eastern Indonesia on Monday following a racist attack on Papuan students in their dormitory.

Protesters in Manokwari city of West Papua province blocked roads, burned tires, damaged a number of public facilities and burned down the parliament building.

On Sunday, a dormitory lodging Papuan students in Surabaya city of East Java province was raided by security personnel and a group which accused them of refusing to celebrate Indonesia's 74th Independence Day last weekend.

The mob rushed to the dormitory after allegedly finding a desecrated national flag in front of the building. Security forces detained 43 students.

National Police spokesman Brig. Gen. Dedi Prasetyo said police has tried to negotiate with the protesters and urged them to stop their acts of violence.

Meanwhile, West Papua Governor Dominggus Mandacan claimed the protesters did not burn down the building of the House of Representatives.

"Before they [protesters] arrived, the building had burned down, the arsonist was another group," Mandacan told Anadolu Agency over the phone.

Earlier on Monday, a group of people, guarded by security forces, gathered in front of the House building to protest the attack on the students.

"I just received a report, they have conveyed their demands and promised to maintain a conducive situation," he said.

Mandacan, who was out of town when the incident occurred, said the tension in Manokwari was closely related to the attack on Papuan students.

Three police officers were injured and a number of public facilities were damaged in Monday’s riots, said Indonesian police.

Papua and West Papua, the easternmost provinces of Indonesia, have faced a decades-long insurgency against Indonesian rule.

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