1 Dec 2011

Claims two shot during flag raising in Timika in Papua

7:42 pm on 1 December 2011

Security forces opened fire today at a separatist flag-raising ceremony in Indonesia's Papua on the 50th anniversary of the region's claim to independence.

Around 500 protesters in Timika watched a traditional dance and started cheering and running in a large circle when the banned Morning Star flag was raised.

The AFP news agency reports about 120 police and soldiers stormed the crowd and opened fire after the flag was raised.

Police detained two protesters after kicking and punching them on the ground.

A Papuan youth activist leader Markus Haluk told AFP that two people had been shot.

But the Mimika district deputy police chief Mada Indra Laksanta denies that any protestors were shot.

He says police only fired warning shots into the air.

Displaying separatist symbols such as the Morning Star is considered an act of treason in Indonesia and can lead to 20-year jail terms.