A mob of some 300 people on Friday attacked an office of gold mining company Freeport Indonesia in Timika, Papua.
The angry crowd also burned two cars and threatened to burn down the Mimika district office if Freeport failed to fulfill their demands.
According to Antara news agency, the incident started during a meeting between relatives of the recently deceased Papua affairs manager for Freeport, David Beanal, and the company’s management.
Relatives of David and the mob that later converged on the office wanted Freeport’s absent president director, Rozik B. Soetjipto, to be present at the meeting to discuss their demands, which included appointing locals to lead the company’s community development division.
A daughter of the late Papua affairs manager stepped out of the meeting and spoke to the crowd gathered outside, not long after which the mob began destroying the building.
About 40 cars and 12 motorcycles were damaged, and two cars were burned. They also burned one room of the office, but the fire did not spread beyond that.
Freeport spokesman Ramdani Sirait confirmed the riot, saying that it happened during a prayer service for David, who died of meningitis.
“No one was injured and police have stabilized the situation,” Ramdani told Suara Pembaruan on Saturday.
According to local media Radartimika.com, some attendees of the prayer service had submitted three demands to Freeport.
The first was to give the position of people’s empowerment division head to a member of one of the seven main tribes in Papua. They also asked Freeport to give the position of Papua affairs division manager, formerly David’s title, to a member of the tribes. The third request was to promote all Freeport employees who were members of the tribes.