3 Dec 2007

Arrests in Indonesian province of Papua after raising of independence flag

11:31 am on 3 December 2007

Police in the Indonesian province of Papua have released 14 people they arrested after the independence flag was raised.

The detentions came at a ceremony to mark the anniversary of West Papua's declaration of independence from Indonesia.

The Detikcom new site says another six people detained as the group raised the illegal "Morning Star" separatist flag remain in police custody.

The Head of the Papua police, Max Donald, said three of those still in custody were activists from the Free Papua Organisation.

Mr Donald says the other three were detained for carrying weapons.

Every December 1, Papuan activists try to raise the flag to commemorate the independence of Papua.

Indonesia won sovereignty over Papua, formerly a Dutch colony, in 1969 after a referendum widely seen as a sham.