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Tarai claims intimidation

Dawn Gibson
Friday, March 21, 2014

CONTROVERSY is still ticking over a public lecture where the panel was an Indonesian delegation that discussed issues about West Papua.

Jope Tarai and eight other USP students said they were cautioned by USP security about what they could or could not do during the lecture.

And prior to the lecture, they were handed a list of five things which were strictly prohibited, apparently originating from the Fiji Police Force.

"I was told by USP security to be mindful about the way I asked questions," Mr Tarai said in an interview last week.

"I was told I had to make sure my questions did not seem protesting. That is just completely out of control.

"I was put in a place of intimidation restricting my own freedom of movement, and at the same time it seemed as if to me, the Indonesian Government was going to limit my participation and my own attendance of a public lecture in my own country."

Mr Tarai said the students were interested in a number of human rights issues in West Papua.

"The following day I was informed that the police had approached USP security and told them there was going to be a protest and rioting of some sort.

"Then I heard there was a possibility that I would not be able to enter the public theatre in USP and apparently the police had approached USP security on that matter also."

Mr Tarai said all students who entered the theatre went through bag searches.

All attempts to get comments from the police and USP proved unsuccessful.

List issued to the students:

* Not to assemble in a group and march towards the ICT;

* Not to wear T-shirts that depict West Papuan freedom movement inside the ICT theatre or anywhere near the ICT theatre;

* Not to hold placards or hang banners near ICT or inside the building depicting West Papua freedom movement;

* Not to carry weapons or objects that can be used as missile to cause injury into the theatre; and

* Not to disturb the event by making unnecessary commotions.





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