Thursday, October 20, 2011

Hundreds arrested at Indonesia protest for independence

Indonesian security forces arrested about 300 protesters who gathered Wednesday in the eastern province of West Papua to declare independence.

Soldiers swarmed in soon after members of the Papuan Peoples' Congress read their declaration in the provincial capital, Jayapura.

"The reason we broke in was because the Congress violated the permit. The permit was only to talk about the basic rights of Papuans," said Papua police Senior Commissioner Wachyono.

Wachyono, like many in Indonesia, go by one name.

The soldiers fired shots in the air and used batons and canes to disperse the crowd, two prominent Papuan figures said.

Police did not dispute the account, but said the crowd fought back, resulting in about 20 injuries.

Ruben Wagai, a member of Papua's local legislature, said three people were killed. Victor Yeimo, a spokesman for the West Papua National Committee, said at least two died. more