16 May 2012

Vanuatu opposition MP says protestors should not have been arrested

5:00 am on 16 May 2012

A Vanuatu opposition MP says people who staged a protest against the arrival of an Indonesian military aircraft in Port Vila yesterday should not have been arrested.

The Indonesian delegation has brought equipment for next month's Port Vila meeting between African Caribbean and Pacific countries and the European Union.

Under a recently signed co-operation agreement, Indonesia is to provide police training to Vanuatu which in turn is to refrain from getting involved in the West Papua issue.

Protestors say that is unacceptable given the strong support of ni-Vanuatu for West Papuan self-determination.

The MP Sela Molisa was at the airport and witnessed the arrests.

"Police and the government should not arrest them because they are just expressing their opinions and this is in the constitution and people have the right to express themselves however they wish, if they want to stage a march in town then they have to obtain a permit from the government, this one, they just put up banners and expressed themselves and I see no reason for the police and government to arrest."

Sela Molisa.