20 Oct 2011

Tension in Papua after mass arrest of Congress delegates

1:11 pm on 20 October 2011

The situation remains tense in the capital of Indonesia's Papua province, Jayapura, following hundreds of arrests at the Third Papuan People's Congress.

Yesterday's arrests came after Indonesian security forces opened fire to disperse delegates converging on Taboria Oval, the site of the Congress.

Johnny Blades reports

"Accounts emerging from Jayapura indicate around two-thousand Indonesian military and police officers were deployed to monitor the Congress where over the past few days an estimated five thousand Papuans were in attendance. Shortly after representatives from Papua region's tribes had declared an independent state of West Papua at the Congress, security forces began firing tear gas and warning shots, then rounding up delegates. Police made more than 300 arrests including that of the Papuan Customary Council Chairman Forkorus Yoisembut, who was proclaimed as President of the State of West Papua. Police units remain on high alert throughout Jayapura."