Increased security ongoing in Papua and West Papua provinces, Indonesia, for Dec. 1 separatist anniversary. Rallies, clashes possible.


Authorities are bolstering security in Papua and West Papua provinces in the run-up to the Dec. 1 anniversary of the declaration of a sovereign "West Papua" state. Officials are almost certainly implementing strict security measures in Jayapura, Manokwari, Nabire, Timika, and Wamena cities, as well as Intan Jaya, Puncak Jaya, Tolikara, and Yahukimo regencies. Officials will probably monitor transport hubs, including Jayapura's Sentani International Airport (DJJ), and government buildings such as provincial, city, and regency councils. Heightened security is also almost certain at PT Freeport Indonesia's (PTFI) facilities, especially the Grasberg mine in Mimika Regency's Tembagapura District, as members of armed groups have carried out shootings near the mine in the past.

Pro-independence activists may stage rallies involving hundreds to thousands of people on the anniversary, particularly in major population centers like Jayapura and Manokwari. Demonstrations and increased security measures could trigger localized transport and business disruptions, especially Dec. 1. Clashes between security forces and pro-independence activists are possible; any significant violence could prompt further protests after the anniversary. Mass arrests may occur if security forces consider any gathering to be disruptive.

Pro-independence supporters could engage in acts of civil disobedience, including raising the banned Bintang Kejora (Morning Star) separatist flag, an act of treason under Indonesian law. Pro-independence fighters could stage small-scale attacks, particularly in remote highland areas. Activists in the region have targeted government and other public buildings during previous incidents; vandalism and arson attacks cannot be ruled out.


Separatists declared a sovereign "West Papua" state and founded the group Free Papua Movement (OPM), Dec. 1, 1963. Indonesian security forces have been under scrutiny for alleged human rights abuses against Papuan demonstrators, and the anniversary provides an opportunity for pro-independence activists to organize disruptive protests to provoke a security response and draw attention to their cause. Authorities have typically detained separatist activists ahead of the anniversary to try to prevent large-scale outbreaks of unrest.


Use caution if operating near possible protest and fighting sites, especially Dec. 1. Avoid any demonstrations due to possible clashes. Seek updated information from local contacts on rally or clash locations and related disruptions. Plan for localized disruptions near any gatherings or fighting and seek alternative routes to circumvent affected areas. If any violence erupts nearby, immediately depart the area. Strictly avoid any sites where the Morning Star flag appears (the flag has blue and white stripes with a red panel emblazoned with a white star). Heed all official traffic and security advisories.