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JAKARTA, Indonesia (March 28, 2001 - Jakarta Post/Antara/Kabar-Irian)---Police fired warning shots and eventually clashed with pro-independence protesters in the Irian Jaya capital of Jayapura on Wednesday, the Antara news agency reported.

The clash started when people boarding eight trucks arrived at the Cendrawasih Sports Hall on Jl. Ratulangi in Jayapura, where a seminar on special autonomy for Irian Jaya was being held.

Arriving at the scene at about 11:30 a.m. local time, these people staged rowdy protests, yelling pro-independence slogans. The protest then turned violent, with the demonstrators destroying the sport hall's nameplate and throwing chairs outside the building.

Dozens of police then came to the scene and fired several warning shots to disperse the protesters.

The protesters hurled stones and other materials at the police.

A number of people, including some policemen, were injured in the clash.

The seminar, opened by Irian Jaya governor Jaap Salossa, was attended by some 3,000 participants. They remained inside the hall when the melee erupted.

The separatist movement in Irian Jaya has gained momentum following East Timor's split from Indonesia last year.

KABAR-IRIAN ("Irian News") Websites: http://www.irja.org/index2.shtml and http://www.kabar-irian.com 

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