3 May 2015

Mass arrests reported in West Papua on anniversary of annexation

5:17 am on 3 May 2015

Mass arrests are reported to have been carried out in West Papua on Friday, on the anniversary of Indonesia's annexation of the province.

The pro-independence KNPB says 12 activists were arrested outside a market in Manokwari, while 15 were arrested in Merauke.

In the provincial capital, Jayapura, 30 people were arrested at rally against Indonesian rule.

A person who was at the rally, Rosa, says there was a heavy security presence in the city, and as soon as the rally tried to march, the police moved in to break them up.

"Once the demonstrators started to walk or march the police threatened them and said 'if you step forward we will shoot you', so then they had an argument and just in a short time they were arrested, like, they caught them and put them into the police truck."

Rosa says it's not known where those arrested were taken as the group couldn't find them at any police station, but she says 21 were released on Saturday morning without charge.

West Papua has been the scene of a low-level independence war with groups of ethnic Papuans fighting Indonesian rule.