The National Police said that the mass riot which broke out today,19th August, in Manokwari, West Papua, was triggered by provocation on social media.
“They are provoked by content circulated on social media platforms about the incident in Surabaya,” said Police spokesperson Brig. Gen. Dedi Prasetyo.
Earlier, reports had suggested that a raid had occurred on 17th August, Independence Day, at a Papuan students’ dormitory in Jalan Kalasan No. 10, Pacar Keling, Surabaya. The raid was reportedly conducted by Indonesian Military (TNI) personnel. A total of 43 students were reportedly taken to Surabaya Resort Police.
The raid was allegedly caused by a misunderstanding, after an Indonesian flag, which belonged to the regional administration, fell in front of the dormitory. Dedi also stated that while the case has already been settled, the spread of false information on social media managed to spark anger in Manokwari.
A group had initiated a peaceful protest this morning, which turned into a riot. The DPRD building, former Papua governor’s office, and other public facilities were also burned during the riots.
The police are currently investigating the owner of the social media account responsible for spreading the hoax news. “Manokwari is in a very conducive situation, so do not be provoked by those who deliberately want to disrupt the situation,” Dedi added.