JAKARTA, Aug. 19 (Xinhua) — Riots broke out in the capital of Indonesia’s West Papua province of Manokwari on Monday as protesters blocked main roads and set fire on the provincial parliament building.
The protesters turned violent to respond to alleged police abuse of Papuan students.
Police arrested dozens of students in Surabaya and Malang in Java Island on Friday afternoon following the national flag was vandalized in their dormitory.
While setting fire on the provincial parliament building, the protesters used machetes to cut the trees along the roads, blocked the roads with logs and burned tires.
Chief of the Indonesian National Police General Tito Karnavian confirmed that the riots in Manokwari are related to the recent arrests of the Papuan students over the vandalism.
The students were released from police on Sunday. But by then, tension had already risen which were partly fueled by rumors.
Meanwhile in Jakarta, the Indonesian Police Headquarters said that areas around Manokwari are normal and not affected by the riots.
A spokesperson for the police headquarters said in a press conference that police and the military would act to prevent the riots from spreading.
The spokesperson said that the police and the military would also seek help from local senior tribal figures to give the correct information to people.
Police would also hunt for the social media account spreading the provocative contents that led to the riots.
LINK ORIGINAL: Xinhuanet