1 May 2006

Vanuatu group marks Papua's Morning Star day

1:20 pm on 1 May 2006

A ceremony is being held in Vanuatu today to mark Morning Star day, the anniversary of the day when Indonesia took control of Papua.

On May 1st 1963, the UN placed the territory of Papua under Indonesian control until an official referendum could determine the will of the people.

The 1969 Act of Free Choice, which is widely regarded to have been stage managed by Jakarta, paved the way for the UN to endorse Papua's incorporation into Indonesia.

Although denied independence, Papuans use the date to commemorate their flag of independence, the Morning Star.

The Vanuatu-based Papuan activist Andy Ayamiseba says the ceremony in Port Vila will be a time for reflection.

"So there will be a lot of display of feeling for the situation back home. Just to remind everyone that today is very important for us to think back what has happened to us 43 years ago."

Meanwhile, about 25 Papuan supporters gathered outside the Indonesian consulate in Sydney yesterday to raise the Morning star flag and call for independence for Papua.