4 Mar 2006

Indonesian president asks for probe into motives for Papua protest

9:07 am on 4 March 2006

The Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono says his government will get to the bottom of the dispute between the Freeport mine and the local community in Papua.

Hundreds of people have protested across Indonesia against the US-owned company, which refuses to allow local people to sift through the mine waste for gold.

Mr Yudhoyono told the Jakarta Post that he would meet with related ministers to determine their actions on the dispute.

He says if it's about conflicts with local illegal miners, then it should be resolved according to the law.

Mr Yudhoyono also said the government would investigate if protesters were truly concerned about the problems at the mine.

Earlier this week protesters vandalised the office block in Jakarta where Freeport has its national headquarters.