About 200 people gathered at a rally in the Solomon Islands capital, Honiara, this afternoon calling on the government to support full membership for West Papua in the Melanesian Spearhead Group.
The Solomon Islands will next week host the MSG leaders' summit, where a decision will be made on whether to accept West Papua into the subregional group.
Last night, the Solomon Islands government announced that it will not back the United Liberation Movement for West Papua as a full member, but will endorse West Papua to be an observer.
The executive director of the ULMWP, Jacob Rumbiak, who was at the protest, says while observer status is better than nothing, the protesters wanted to send a message that West Papua deserves full membership.
"It really was calling for the government of Solomon Islands to make the right decision based on the basic standing of why the MSG was born. That's about the struggle of people of Melanesia for independence because the MSG was born to support Kanak and West Papua independence."