The Freedom Flotilla to West Papua has arrived at Thursday Island in the Torres Strait. The smallest yacht in the fleet, Trudy sustained engine damage near Escape River in the Cape York Peninsula two days ago, however was able to be towed safely to Thursday Island late yesterday by the Wia-O-Tira.
Francis Janssen, from the Netherlands, has flown across the world as a show of solidarity from Free Moluku groups in the Netherlands, also joined the group this week on Thursday Island.
The participants on the Freedom Flotilla to West Papua now include indigenous and non-indigenous Australians, West Papuans, a New Zealander, a Kenyan man, an Indian woman and Francis from the Netherlands. The eclectic group of unlikely comrades on this history-making journey comprises Elders, leaders and refugees, sailors, musicians, mothers, a grandmother, artists and an engineer, a photographer, a film crew, a radio journalist and an ex-Australian soldier.
Global support continues to swell with the Freedom Flotilla receiving support letters from people in American, Europe, New Zealand, Korea and Japan, encouraging the Freedom Flotilla to “never give in to threats by belligerent powers, never go back to apathy and indifference to historical injustice” and to “never give up — on the cries of `Help!`from our West Papuan brothers and sisters, tortured inhumanely for half-a-century.”
In a further development in West Papua, the group has received official message of support from KNPB Chairman Victor Yeimo, who is currently serving three years in Abepura Prison for organising a protest march.
The group received another support letter from the Prime Minister and President of the Federated Republic of West Papua, inviting them to “directly see what really happen here during fifty years Indonesia occupying West Papua”
The Freedom Flotilla is humbled that our act of creative resistance to Indonesian occupation and human rights and land rights abuses is being so broadly welcomed.
Yesterday in Brisbane there was a solidarity action at Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Offices. A group of 20 protestors marched in the city and delivered a letter of advocacy and request for safe passage for the Freedom Flotilla on its voyage to West Papua adressed to Senator Carr.
Bishop Emiritus Hilton-Deakin of the Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne joined the broad coalition of public figures who have endorsed the letter to Senator Carr this week, illustrating the widespread support for the Freedom Flotilla.
The Freedom Flotilla will now be in Thursday Island for a week, building community networks, organizing the last leg of the journey to West Papua while our engineer and mechanic repairs the damaged to Trudy’s propeller shaft.