31 Jan 2009

Protestors in Papua say police beat them

6:02 am on 31 January 2009

The human rights organisation ELSHAM says about 100 demonstrators in the Papua town of Nabire were badly beaten by Indonesian police while they held camp outside the local elections office.

The peaceful demonstration earlier this week saw protestors hold an overnight vigil outside the elections office where they were demanding answers from officials over repeated delays in Nabire's PILKADA, or regent and municipal, elections.

ELSHAM's Paula Makabori says the elections have been delayed since last October and local people are threatening that if the elections are postponed to next year, they will boycott this year's legislative and presidential elections.

Ms Makabori says police attacked the protestors while they slept.

"And this brutal attack and gunshots against the people resulted in some people suffering of bruises and open wounds, and five people suffering from serious bullet wounds. So the victims have been hiding because they think that the police will go there and then take them out."

Paula Makabori.