The Jakarta Globe, January 18, 2013,
Jayawijaya, Papua. At least eight people were injured and dozens of vehicles were set on fire after a campaign event in Jayawijaya, Papua, turned violent on Friday.
Eyewitnesses said the event turned chaotic after the head of the neighboring district of Lany Jaya, Befa Jigibalon, who appeared at the event in support of the Lukas Enembe-Klemen Tinal ticket, distributed Rp 100,000 notes to select members of the audience, which numbered in the several thousands.
Those who did not receive any money became angry and threw stones at the stage, injuring eight people who were immediately rushed to the hospital.
“They kept throwing stones for about 15 minutes. Security officers were helpless to stop them,” Ronald Tabuni, who witnessed the incident, told the Jakarta Globe on Friday.
The deputy district chief of Jayawijaya, John Banua, tried to calm down the crowd by distributing more cash, but the tactic didn't work.
“Not everyone got the money, so they kept being anarchic and throwing stones,” Ronald added.
The crowd also threw stones at shops and the Baliem Pilamo Hotel, where Lukas and Klemen were staying, not far from the campaign venue on Jalan Tikora, located in the subdistrict of Wamena.
Papua Police spokesman Sr. Comr. I Gede Sumerta Jaya said that no fatalities resulted from the incident, and when asked about the situation, he mentioned only the eight injured victims and the dozens of damaged vehicles.
A car belonging to John was vandalized, as was another owned by local police.
Shops remained closed in Wamena at the time of publication, in fear of continued attacks. Owners of torched vehicles demanded Lukas and Klemen to compensate the damages.
Another campaign event also reportedly turned violent in the Papua district of Yahukimo, after supporters of gubernatorial candidates from the Golkar Party and the Democratic Party clashed.
A police officer was reportedly injured in the incident, while two police guns went missing.
Papua, Indonesia’s easternmost province and a restive region, is set to hold a gubernatorial election on Jan. 29.