13 INJURED IN PAPUA CLASH AT ACTIVIST’S TRIAL

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MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, May 10) – At least 13 people have reportedly been injured in protests at the trial of a pro-independence activist in Indonesia's Papua province.

Philip Karmas, who is on trial for hoisting the outlawed Papua separatist flag last December, has appeared in court near Jayapura.

As the hearing ended, hundreds of his supporters blocked the main entrance gate to the court buildings and began throwing rocks at police officers inside, according to the AFP news agency.

Police say they fired warning shots into the air to disperse the riot.

It is not known if anyone received gunshot wounds.

Judge Ichsan, who heard the case, says the supporters were angry because Mr Karmas was not allowed to address the crowd after the hearing.

The judge says Mr Karmas has been allowed to address his supporters either before or after previous hearings.

Prosecutors have recommended that Mr Karmas and three of his supporters be sentenced each to five years jail.

Papua Province, which lies in the western half of New Guinea island, has a majority Melanesian population.

May 11, 2005

Radio Australia: www.abc.net.au/ra

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