20 Oct 2011

Dozens injured in Indonesia's crackdown on Papua Congress

5:47 pm on 20 October 2011

Indonesian security forces have injured dozens of people when they broke up a pro-independence meeting of Papuans outside Jayapura.

Hundreds of paramilitary police and army troops surrounded the estimated 5,000 participants at the Papuan Congress - the first such meeting since 2000.

The crowd at the congress, which included well-known independence leaders, declared autonomy and proclaimed that Papuans would elect their own president and revive a defunct colonial Dutch currency.

The Jakarta Globe says security forces moved in, whipping or beating protesters with canes and batons.

Reports say they also used tear gas.

Police have confirmed they had made dozens of arrests for violations, such as raising the separatist Morning Star flag, which is punishable with lengthy prison sentences.

The region is off limits to foreign journalists and rights workers.