Free Political Prisoners in West Papua – rally at Indonesian Consulate, Melbourne, 8 April 2011

Protesters with banners outside Consulate gates

The Morning Star flew in front of the Indonesian Consulate in Melbourne this morning as members of the West Papua community and supporters gathered to demand the release of political prisoners and an end to torture and repression.

Banner - Free West Papua

The particular focus of the action was the case of Filep Karma, sentenced in May 2005 to 15 years imprisonment for treason – see this Amnesty USA video on YouTube :

(http://www.amnestyusa.org/individuals-at-risk/priority-cases/indonesia-filep-karma/page.do?id=1101238)

Filep Karma, Prisoner of Conscience
Filep Karma @ ELSHAM Filep Karma is serving 15 years in prison for raising a flag. A prominent advocate for the rights of Indonesia’s Papuan population, Filep Karma was arrested for taking part in a peaceful ceremony on December 1, 2004, which included the raising of the Morning Star flag, a symbol of Papuan independence…

Amnesty International considers Filep Karma to be a prisoner of conscience who has been imprisoned solely for the peaceful and legitimate exercise of his right to freedom of expression. Amnesty is concerned at reports that Mr. Karma has been beaten by guards and has experienced serious health problems in prison. The organization calls on the Indonesian government to free Filep Karma and all other prisoners of conscience.

There was no sign of life at the Consulate beyond the presence of these three …

Police and AFP official inside grounds, 'Papua Merdeka!' banner in driveway

But there was plenty of life outside. The West Papuans as always took to expressing their feelings in song, and passing traffic responded to the appeals with much loud honking – Queens Road is a major thoroughfare and there were a lot of trucks going past.

West Papuans with Morning Star flag singing outside gate

There is to be a West Papua film night next Friday at 7.30pm(April 15) at Kindness House, 288 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy – see notice on Indymedia Calendar.

Holding up the Morning Star flag outside the Consulate gates

LIneup outside the Consulate

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Rally against Rudd’s “Indonesian Solution” – 18 January 2010

Banners on steps of State Library

Lineup at end of rally

(A longer version of this post, with audio files and background material, can be found on Melbourne Indymedia.)

Melbourne’s Tamil community and supporters joined others around Australia and the world in a day of action on 18 January to highlight the plight of 254 Tamil asylum seekers who have now spent 100 days on a boat in Merak, Indonesia, following the Australian Prime Minister’s request to the Indonesian President to have the vessel intercepted in Indonesian waters to prevent it from reaching Australia. Speakers including Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young and Pamela Curr of the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre, condemned this inhumanity, and organisers, with help from activists in Indonesia, were able broadcast a direct link to the spokesperson of the refugees, “Alex”. Other speakers were Kanchana Senthura of the Australian Tamil Congress (http://www.australiantamilcongress.com/en/) and Setyo Budi of the Indonesia Solidarity Forum, as well as Nicole from the Refugee Action Collective, which organised the event.

Kanchana Senthura speaking

Kanchana Senthura of the Australian Tamil Congress

Setyo Budi

Setyo Budi of the Indonesia Solidarity Forum

Signing the petition

At the Refugee Action collective stall - http://www.rac-vic.org

Pamela Curr speaking

Pamela Curr of the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre in Melbourne

Video of extracts from the speeches can be seen on EngageMedia

Solidarity with Kulon Progo farmers – 11 January 2010

MAC banner and flag outside Indonesian Consulate

MAC banner and flag outside Indonesian Consulate

In response to a call for international support from the Association of Shoreline Farmers (Paguyuban Petani Lahan Pantai – PPLP), the Melbourne Anarchist Club (MAC – http://mac.anarchobase.com/) organised a protest outside the Indonesian Consulate in Melbourne this morning. Called at short notice and falling on a day when temperatures were forecast to exceed 45 degrees, the gathering was not surprisingly small (about ten in all), but made its point. A statement was read in English outside the front gate, and then in Indonesian at the back entrance – requests to be admitted to the building or to deliver a message directly to a member of the consulate were refused, but a member of the staff was busy with a camera, and an officer did agree to take a copy of the statement…

Staff member with camera

Staff member busy with camera, police in attendance

Reading the statement in English

Member of MAC reading the statement in English

Reading the statement in Indonesian

Reading the statement in Indonesian at the rear of the Consulate

The text of the Statement in English:

The Kulon Progo farmers in the Yogyakarta region, of Indonesia, have been hit by an enormous challenge to their decades of self-reliance and autonomous practice. The land is being threatened by the prospect of being turned into an iron mine. Not only will this take away the livelihood of the farmers, but this project will have a massive environmental impact upon the land.

For decades, the Kulon Progo farmers have overcome obstacles that would otherwise have put a halt to their practice of living, such as daily battering by the wind and the occasional storm, and a ban on farming by the government. But their insistence on being autonomous and independent has helped their survival. Through the custom of meeting, discussing and sharing, they gradually found new strategies to grow and survive together.

That is, until the news came that, under the belly of the sand on which they thrive, there is fresh water and iron. The fresh water has revitalized the lives of the inhabitants of the region. But the iron has brought the attention of investors from mining companies. In late 2005, PT Jogja Magasa Mining (Indonesia) in collaboration with Indo Mines Limited (Australia), made their way to the region and, with the help of the Indonesian government, imposed upon the farmers the project to mine out the region’s iron ore.

Since 2005, through a strong solidarity the Kulon Progo famers have consistently opposed any kind of intervention into their livelihood as farmers. They have rejected offers to be waged, to work for people they have never known, and to destroy the land they have cultivated for decades.

And here in Melbourne, we would like to call each and every one of you to come out and be with us in opposing the iron mine, to show our support, and our solidarity with, the Kulon Progo farmers.

WE ARE VOCALLY SUPPORTING THE FARMERS AND PPLP*

(Paguyuban Petani Lahan Pantai = Association of Shoreline Farmers)

WE ARE IN SOLIDARITY WITH THEIR STRUGGLE

See also http://kpsolidarity.wordpress.com/