Filep Karma and Yusak Pakage

True story about what Filep Karma and Yusak Pakage did during the 1st December incident:

Clashes at December 1st Papua celebrations

Sinar Harapan, 1 December 2004

A ceremony held by pro-independence activists to mark what they consider to be “Papuan Independence Day” was marred by clashes on Wednesday as crowds numbering hundreds attacked police officers.

Violence broke out after activists attempting to raise the “Morning Star” flag in the Trikora Abepura field were prevented from doing so by the security apparatus.  This led to clashes between the crowd, many armed with sharp weapons and shards of broken bottles, and police who were only using police baton.

Police came under attack as they attempted to prevent the crowd from flying the ‘Morning Star’ Flag to commemorate the December 1st Independence day. Most of the police officers were carrying firearms and immediately fired a series of shots into the air. But despite this, the mobs continued to attack police and clashes continued. Police were eventually forced to retreat from the scene, as the crowd became increasingly violent.

The Commemoration of Papuan Independence Day started with a street march, spanning around 300 metres, in which demonstrators shouted ‘Free Papua’ and performed traditional regional dances from the central mountains.  The crowd, led by Filep Karma and Yusak Pakage, then went directly to the centre of the Trikora field and dug a hole in which to fix a wooden picket to serve as a makeshift flagpole.  But, just as the picket was about to be erected, police forces led by Jayapura Police chief, High Commissioner Moh. Son Aini, intervened, provoking an emotional response from the gathered crowds.

The police captain stressed that when the picket had been removed, he had hoped out of mutual respect there would be need for the use of force. But crowds were determined to raise the flag and became volatile when Police Commissioner Terry Levin wrestled the hoe out of the hands of those attempting to plant the picket in the ground.

Police then swiftly grabbed the makeshift flag pole and took it away from the field.  But they were then chased by crowds trying to grab it back, which in turn led to clashes.  The violence was soon broken up when Filep Karma intervened to separate the two sides.

Jayapura police had deployed 600 personnel for security around the 1st December and had additional back- up from 2 Indonesian army platoons.  The evening before, police authorities had called in Yusak Pakage and Filep Karma for questioning but released them earlier this morning.  Meanwhile SH sources reported that a flag raising ceremony did take place in Kelila region in Wamena.


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