Logo: Solidarity South Pacific

Papuan ballot boycott prevents election result. Global solidarity demonstrations in support.

We have received news that 60% of people in West Papua refused to vote in Monday's parliamentary elections. This has successfully prevented the an announcement of the results of the elections but the government is trying to pretend that the elections are delayed due to a lack of ballot papers. This was certainly true in the south of Papua where a group of 20 OPM (Free Papua Movement) successfully attacked a boat delivering ballot papers killing one policeman and capsizing the boat sending the contents to the bottom of the river!

This means that almost every native Papuan refused to vote (around 40% of the population are Indonesian transmigrants) and we have also been told that many in Aceh stayed at home and 50% of students in the Javanese city of Yogyakarta did not vote! Alongside this show of defiance global solidarity demonstrations took place in London, Sydney, Washington DC and the Hague. This is the largest ever solidarity action in support of West Papua and Aceh.

The demonstrations were made all the more effective because all the ex-patriot Indonesians had to go to the embassies to place their votes. In London for example the hundreds of Indonesian nationals were given leaflets informing them of the boycott and the embassy was surrounded by banners proclaiming 'solidarity with the OPM' on one of its most public days. News of the demonstrations has also appeared in the Indonesian press.

In the weeks running up to the elections Indonesian police shot dead two people and hospitalised three who they suspected of campaigning for the boycott. Because of the successful no-vote the government has had to delay the results of the elections but have also deployed hundreds of police to villages across Papua where they will continue to try to force votes out of people. We must continue to be on alert as there is still danger of retaliatory action from the Indonesian police and army. We have also heard that there was an OPM attack in Arso near the PNG border and a bomb was exploded in Aceh near a polling station.

More news is expected to come out over the next week. For information check West Papua News.