28 Nov 2002

Indonesian police arrest 21 Papuans for flying separatist flag

11:21 am on 28 November 2002

Police in the Indonesian province of Papua have arrested 21 people for flying the separatist Morning Star flag.

The state news agency Antara says all the arrests came in the Manokwari district.

The crackdown comes after President Megawati Sukarnoputri reportedly urged pro-independence Papuans not to celebrate the 41st anniversary this Sunday of their attempt at nationhood.

The chairman of the Indonesian Evangelical Fellowship, Bambang Widjaja, says he has been warned that the government would take measured action against those who celebrate the rebel anniversary.

But the wife of the murdered Papuan independence leader Theys Eluay says pro-independence activists will go ahead with their traditional hoisting of the independence flag side by side with the Indonesian flag on December the 1st.