12 Aug 2005

Papuan Tribal Council moves peaceful protest over autonomy status forward

10:29 am on 12 August 2005

The Papuan Tribal Council has decided to move forward the date for returning the special autonomy status to the Central Government, slated for Tuesday, to today.

The planned mass peaceful protest has been changed due to security concerns that the original date, August 15th, is just two days before Indonesia's independence day and the situation could be tense.

The Jakarta Post reports that the secretary to the Papuan Tribal Council, Leonard Imbiri has called on the government and security apparatus to respond proportionately as the protest would comply with the law.

Her says the protest is not aimed at seeking separation from Indonesia, but was purely aimed at protesting the failure of the government to carrying out a special autonomy scheme for Papuans.

Meanwhile, Papuan religious leaders have expressed hope that the planned protest on Aug. 12, or Friday, will run peacefully.

Budi Hernawam, a Catholic priest, said that there had been various rumors circulating in Jayapura that if the protest was not managed well, it could lead to chaos.