West Papuans, Indigenous Elders and Politicians Protest Threats of Violence against Peaceful Flotilla

August 26 2013

The West Papuan Melbourne Community has called a protest action in support of the Freedom Flotilla to West Papua, in conjunction with peaceful actions and prayers being held across West Papua tomorrow.

At 12pm – 2pm on Tuesday the 27th of August a broad coalition of supporters will gather outside the Indonesian Consulate, 72 Queens Rd Melbourne to protest threats made by Indonesian officials that the Freedom Flotilla to West Papua will be intercepted by THEIR Navy and Airforce.

Statements from Indonesian officials have threatened to arrest the participants of the Freedom Flotilla and have made it clear that they are not ruling out lethal force being used against the peaceful action. The Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr has refused to advocate for just treatment of the Flotilla stating that his department will not offer consular support, while the Shadow Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has effectively endorsed violence being used against the Flotilla by stating that Indonesia may do “whatever it wish" to stop the boats.

Speaking at the protest will be parliamentary representatives from diverse political backgrounds. Greens Senator Richard di Natale, who has been a passionate advocate for human rights in West Papua will be re-iterating his party's support for the Freedom Flotilla, while DLP Senator John Madigan will also be challenging MP Julie Bishop's “grossly irresponsible remarks that effectively give a green light for the Indonesian military to commit a massacre."

Senior Tauwurrung Elder Uncle Larry Walsh will be speaking on his peoples long commitment to the rights of oppressed peoples from South Africa to East Timor to West Papua, along with Gunnai Elder Robbie Thorpe who will be speaking on the authority granted by the issuing of Original Nations passports.

Shirley Shackleton, who dedicated her life to liberating the East Timorese after her husband was shot in Balibo in 1975 by the Indonesian military, will be highlighting the similarities between East Timor and West Papua as well as the 1992 voyage of the Lusitania Expresso to the current Freedom Flotilla.

Singer-songwriter of the urban roots band Blue King Brown Natalie Pa'apa'a will also adress the crowd in support of the Freedom Flotilla's creative act of resistance to the Indonesian occupation of West Papua.

The Freedom Flotilla is currently approaching the Flinders Group islands, with all sails to the wind towards Thursday island while the actions of solidarity are taking place in West Papua and in Melbourne.

For further information and comment, please contact: Ruben Blake +61414091706

We work for world peace and justice, we start from our region, the Pacific.
- Jacob Rumbiak