Four Shot In Indonesian Papua Election Protests: Activist

Four Shot In Indonesian Papua Election Protests: Activist

JAKARTA, April 6 (AFP) — At least four people were wounded when
police opened fire on a protest in Indonesia’s remote Papua
region on Monday, demanding independence and a boycott of
elections, an activist said.

The protesters were shot when police fired into a crowd of
around 200 indigenous Papuans rallying in the streets of Nabire
town in West Papua province, Catholic Church activist Yones Douw
told AFP.

“The people didn’t react or throw anything but Brimob
(paramilitary police) attacked them,” Douw said, adding that the
four injured were in “critical” condition in hospital.

Three other protesters were hit with rubber bullets and one
woman was arrested at the rally, which followed a dawn raid on
an office being used by activists in which 15 people were
arrested, Douw said.

One person was also shot and hurt by police in the raid, but it
was unclear if he was shot with a rubber bullet or a live round,
he said.

Local police chief Rinto Jatmono refused to confirm the
shootings but acknowledged the earlier arrest of
pro-independence activists.

“We arrested the 15 people in connection with subversion,”
Jatmono said.

Meanwhile, around 300 people rallied peacefully in Jayapura, the
capital of neighbouring Papua province, to call for a boycott of
national legislative elections on Thursday.

The crowd chanted “boycott the election” and called for the
release of 17 activists arrested last week in a raid on the
headquarters of the Papuan Customary Council, the top cultural
representative body for Papuan tribes.

Pro-independence sentiment runs high in Papua, which sits on the
western end of New Guinea island and is populated mainly by the
Melanesian ethnic minority.

Indonesia took formal control of the region in a 1969
UN-sponsored vote by select tribal elders widely seen as a sham
and the area has seen a long-running insurgency by poorly armed
pro-independence guerrillas.


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