Anti-police protests in Indonesia intensify
August 21, 2019 | 1:30 PM
by Agencies
Jakarta is deploying more troops to the region to anticipate protests on Wednesday

Jakarta: Days after anti-police protests broke out in Indonesia, the island country has deployed more troops to the restive West Papua region as demonstrations spread to several communities in the region, with reports of a prison break, injuries and more attacks that belie earlier assurances by the government that the unrest had been contained.

President Joko Widodo's chief security minister, Wiranto, told reporters on Tuesday that Jakarta is deploying more troops to the region to anticipate protests on Wednesday, when demonstrators are expected to hold bigger rallies across Indonesia's far east region.

Wiranto did not say if the government deployed military or police officers. But according to a video circulating on social media shows hundreds of military and police personnel arriving in Manokwari, capital of West Papua province. It where the most violent of protests first took place on Monday, leaving government buildings and business establishments burned to the ground.

Major General Sisriadi, a spokesman for Indonesia's armed forces, said on Wednesday that the military has sent 300 troops to Manokwari. Before the protests, one military battalion was assigned in West Papua province, while four military units were stationed in Papua province.

West Papua region is divided into two provinces, West Papua and Papua.

Images sent by to an international news portal on Wednesday showed Papuan protesters in Fakfak, a regency in West Papua province, raising their pro-independence flag.

Showing the flag in public is prohibited. According to Indonesian law, individuals carrying the banned flag could face arrest and imprisonment of up to 15 years.

Another image showed a coastal area in Fakfak on fire. Reports said the local market was set on fire.

On Wednesday afternoon, reports said that military and police reinforcements have arrived in Fakfak.

Meanwhile, in Timika, West Papua province, angry protesters took to the streets on Wednesday as soldiers with riot gears and rifles look on.

On Tuesday, angry protests spread to at least six areas of West Papua, with reports of injuries.

A police officer said that one officer in Jayapura received a bullet injury. Jayapura is the capital of Papua province.

Meanwhile, a female protester was shot in her ankle in Manokwari, according to Victor Yeimo, the spokesperson for West Papua National Committee (WPNC), which initiated and organised the protests.

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