Hundreds Escape West Papua Prison During Uprising

Published August 20, 2019

Uprising in West Papua

More than 250 prisoners escaped from a West Papua prison set ablaze during an uprising against racism and the colonial occupation of West Papua by the Indonesian state.

The prison break happened Monday as several cities in the easternmost territory occupied by Indonesia – where West Papuan insurgents have fought against Indonesian colonialism for decades – saw rioting and protests triggered by the racist detention of dozens of West Papuan students.

About half of a 500-inmate prison in Sorong city fled their cells when the prison was set ablaze by angry protesters on Monday.

258 inmates escaped and only five of them were re-captured by this morning.

Several prison employees were injured by rock-throwing prisoners, as they tried to stop the escape.

Sorong, a city of some 220,000 people, was hit by mass protests on Monday while in Manokwari, the capital of West Papua province, an uprising broke out with the local parliament building torched and nearly reduced to ashes.

Some 500 people rallied again in Sorong on Tuesday, as police in riot gear fired tear gas and water cannons to disperse the crowds. Also on Tuesday, in Makassar, anarchists held a solidarity action in support of the West Papuan uprising.

Anarchists

Anarchists

This week’s demonstrations were triggered by a racist attack by Indonesian authorities, who tear-gassed and detained 43 West Papuan university students in Surabaya on Saturday.

Police in riot gear stormed into a dormitory to force out students who allegedly destroyed an Indonesian flag.

Monday’s uprising marked the latest milestone in a decades-old rebel insurgency against Indonesian colonial occupation and its security forces, who have committed massacres and heinous abuses against the indigenous West Papuan people.

West Papuan guerrillas have carried out several attacks against Indonesian police and military forces in recent months. The revolutionary struggle against Indonesian colonialism will only continue to gain momentum.