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World Papuans rally for independence from Indonesia as group declares government in exile

12:50  01 december  2020
12:50  01 december  2020 Source:   reuters.com

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SURABAYA, Indonesia – About 300 West Papuan demonstrators calling for independence for the restive Indonesian region faced off with counterprotesters The Free Papua Movement, a separatist group in Indonesia 's restive Papua province, declared independence from Dutch rule on Dec.

Indonesia declared a unanimous victory. Most West Papuans felt robbed and an independence movement was born. Papuans vote in the Act of Free Choice ballot in Thousands of West Papuans , many of them students, took to the streets demanding an end to racism and calling for independence .

By Agustinus Beo Da Costa

JAKARTA (Reuters) - Hundreds of Papuans held rallies across at least eight cities in Indonesia on Tuesday to renew calls for independence, as a separatist group declared it had established a provisional government in exile.

The demonstrations marked the anniversary of West Papua declaring independence from Dutch rule in 1961, which was followed by a contentious U.N.-sanctioned referendum in 1969 that brought Papua under Indonesian control.

Among more than 100 students who marched in the capital Jakarta, Papuan Roland Levy said the date remained significant decades on.

"My goal in joining the rally today is to commemorate 59 years of the proclamation of independence of the West Papuan nation that was annexed by Indonesia," he told Reuters, as demonstrators waved banners calling for the right to self-determination.

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As Indonesia 's presidential candidates draw massive crowds to rallies across the country, leaders A West Papuan activist holds a banner demanding independence . (CNN) As Indonesia 's presidential The Indonesian government later criticized Vanuatu for inviting Wenda into their UN delegation to

Indonesia Papua Protests. A Papuan activist wears a necklace separatist 'Morning Star' flag during a rally near the presidential palace in Jakarta, Indonesia , Thursday A group of West Papuan students in Indonesia 's capital staged the protest against racism and called for independence for their region.

Some Papuans regard the 1969 plebiscite as unfair and say intimidation was used to influence the outcome, which Jakarta has rejected.

The protests coincided with a declaration from the United Liberation Movement for West Papua that a provisional "government-in-waiting" had been formed, led by exiled independence figure, Benny Wenda.

Britain-based Wenda said the group would push for independence and no longer "bow down to Jakarta's illegal martial rule".

Teuku Faisyah, a spokesman for the Indonesian foreign ministry, paid little heed to what he described as "Mr. Wenda's self-proclaimed status".

"The status of Papua as part of Indonesia, the successor state of the Netherlands (Dutch) East Indies, is final," he said, referring to the former colonial power.

He said the integration process was supervised by the United Nations and included the adoption of a resolution.

Papua has been plagued by separatist conflict for decades and access for foreign journalists is often restricted.

In the past year there have been sporadic and deadly attacks involving security forces and indigenous Papuans, including the killing of several Papuan minors and a pastor in recent months.

The United Nations human rights body on Monday expressed concern over reports of extrajudicial killings and escalating violence in the region.

(Additional reporting by Stanley Widianto; Writing by Kate Lamb; Editing by Martin Petty)

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usr: 6
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