3 Mar 2008

Rallies planned across Papua against Indonesian rule

2:50 pm on 3 March 2008

A series of demonstrations calling for a referendum on Papuan self-determination has been planned for today in several main towns of Indonesia's Papua region.

Rallies will be held in the provincial capital Jayapura, as well as Manokwari, Serui and Sarong.

The West Papua National Authority, which represents Papua's influential student movement, has organised these rallies that are intended to be peaceful.

The Authority expects the rallies to be some of the biggest public demonstrations against Indonesia's presence since 1963.

A spokesman for the Authority, Jack Wainggai, says the demonstrations will voice Papuans' desire for a peaceful solution to the violence and poverty they live with.

"We want a referendum for West Papua because referendum is a peaceful solution for West Papua, because there are many many problems in West Papua when West Papua integrate with Indonesia - until now, many people suffering, many people killing, many people die because of the military of Indonesia."

Jack Wainggai