This Sunday the 1st of December 2013 events will be held across West Papua, Australia and the world to mark the day West Papua’s flag was first raised in preparation for Independence from the Dutch in 1961.
Global solidarity for a free West Papua is surging in the wake of the unprecedented public awareness generated by the Freedom Flotilla to West Papua and the occupation of the Australian Embassy in Bali during the APEC summit.
Supporters in Melbourne will be welcoming the arrival of Jeremy Bally, ‘Pedalling for Papua’, on the completion of his worldwide cycling tour raising awareness about the ‘slow-motion genocide’ in West Papua through his unique animated spoken-word ukulele performances.
The last leg of Jeremy’s 12,000km journey will begin at Clayton Railway Station at 11am, Sunday 1st December. Cyclists flying Morning Star flags, will join him to ride along the Yarra Bike Path before being welcomed at St Paul’s Cathedral at 2pm. The riders will be welcomed by Taungurong Elder Uncle Larry Walsh, Greens Senator-elect Janet Rice, and the Freedom Flotilla with entertainment provided by David Bridie, Combat Wombat, a West Papuan String Band and traditional dancers.
In West Papua, displaying the Morning Star flag is consistently met with violent reprisals, arrests and charges of treason carrying a maximum sentence of life imprisonment. Despite this West Papuans have defiantly raised their flag every 1st of December since 1961.
At least 200 West Papuans student leaders have been arrested during the last week in a crackdown by police ahead of this year’s planned demonstrations. Five activists are believed to have been shot by police on Tuesday the 26th of November 2013, with one body found dumped in Lake Sentani. Indonesian National Police Chief Gen. Sutarman has confirmed that this year’s flag raising ceremonies are forbidden and will be met with force.
At 6am in Port Moresby, a march will begin at Unagi Oval to NCDC City Hall where a Free West Papua Campaign Office will be officially opened by Port Moresby Governor Powes Parkop. At 6pm in Jack Pidik Park, Rize of the Morning Star will host a concert with a line up consisting of artists from across the Pacific and Australia including George Telek, Airileke, and members of the Black Brothers.
Flag raising events are also planned in Brisbane, Darwin, London, Sydney, The Hague, Madrid, Warsaw, Istanbul, Copenhagen and Port Vila, as support continues to grow around the globe for West Papua’s right to self-determination.