9 Jul 2007

Indonesian police query Papuans over raising banned flag

3:27 pm on 9 July 2007

More Papuans are being questioned by Indonesian police in Jayapura over a flag-raising incident.

This follows the arrest of eight Papuans at the end of the four-day Papuan Tribal Congress meeting in Jayapura last week.

Police made the arrests after the West Papuan independence flag, the Morning Star, was used at the opening ceremony by a group of traditional dancers from Manokwari.

A spokesperson for the international human rights group ELSHAM, Paula Makabori, says the eight have been released.

Ms Makabori says the Papuan Tribal Council's chairman Welem Bonay and other executive members are now being questioned over what she describes as a cultural event.

"The reason is because there is a group called Sampari during that congress who used the West Papuan flag in their traditional dancing. But that is actually cultural. This is the way the Papuans sometimes use traditional dancing or music or songs to present their information to people."

Paula Makabori