President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo is set to visit Papua and West Papua following rioting that broke out in the provinces’ capitals on Monday. The demonstrators protested racial abuse against Papuan students in East Java during the commemoration of Indonesia’s Independence Day over the weekend.
Presidential staff member Lenis Kogoya said on Tuesday that the visit would be made sometime next week.
“We will invite the President to Papua to talk with the locals there,” he said as quoted by kompas.com, adding that the state leader would accommodate the people’s aspirations regarding his next five-year term.
Jokowi, who has visited the easternmost part of the country more times than any previous president, had called on all Papuans to stay calm and forgive fellow citizens who had launched physical and verbal attacks on Papuan students in Surabaya, East Java.
Security personnel reportedly cursed the students with the words “monkey” and “pig” as they rounded up students at a dormitory in the city. The personnel were believed to be provoked by accusations that the students had destroying an Indonesian flag.
“Fellow citizens, pace [brothers], mace [sisters] and mama-mama [mothers] in Papua and West Papua, I know that there are some grievances. As fellow citizens, it is important to forgive each other,” Jokowi said at Merdeka Palace on Monday, addressing the Papuans in the local dialect. “It is better to forgive and be patient.”
The President, however, refused to comment on calls to investigate the racist abuse that sparked the rioting. (vny)Artikel Asli