Indonesia Crackdown After Papuan Anti-Election Rally

Radio Australia
Monday, April 6, 2009

Indonesia Crackdown After Papuan Anti-Election Rally

Police have raided the offices of a Papuan organisation, making
arrests and causing damage, after thousands of people rallied in
Indonesia’s eastern Papua region to call for independence from
Jakarta.

The rally, on Friday, also called for a boycott of elections.

Police raided the offices of the Papuan Customary Council, the
top representative body for indigenous Papuans in the provincial
capital, Jayapura, arresting 15 activists and damaging
equipment, council secretary general Leonard Imbiri told Agence
France Presse.

“They trashed the offices, destroyed two computers and they
burnt down a traditional hut behind the building,” Imbiri said.

Vico Yeimo, the head of the West Papua National Committee, said
the activists were arrested on suspicion of trying to organise a
rally in the city, an earlier request for which was turned down
by police.

Papua police chief Bagus Eko Danto refused to confirm the
arrests or any damage.

More than 10,000 activists took to the streets in the towns of
Nabire and Wamena to call for Papuans to boycott national
legislative elections this week and in solidarity with the
establishment abroad of an international pressure group called
International Lawyers for West Papua, activists said.

Around 12,000 Papuans led by 50 men in traditional penis gourds
and feathers marched though Nabire with no arrests, local church
activist Yones Douw said.

“Our demand is that Papuans don’t take part in the election
because we are not part of Indonesia,” he said.

Papua is at the western end of New Guinea island.

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