23 Feb 2006

Production stops at a Papuan gold mine after protesters block a road

6:30 pm on 23 February 2006

Production at the huge Freeport gold mine in the Indonesian province of Papua has been suspended because of a demonstration by local illegal miners.

Protesters, some armed with bows and arrows, have blocked a road leading to the mine complex, which is being protected by some 400 police and soldiers.

Clashes between the two sides have left two security guards injured.

The head of Asian and International Affairs at the University of Victoria in Melbourne, Dr Richard Chauvel believes an increase in political tensions explains this latest protest.

"This incident does come just a couple of weeks after the military shooting of three unarmed papuans in another part of the Highlands so the broader political tensions between Papua and Jakarta are very much part of this."

Richard Chauvel of Victoria University in Melbourne.