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Morning Star Flag marks the plight of Papuans

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (RNZI, Dec. 1, 2010) - The West Papua Morning Star Flag is being raised in one of New Zealand’s main streets today as an act of solidarity with the people of Indonesian province.

December the 1st marks the anniversary of the date in 1961 when the Morning Star flag was first raised, at a time when West Papua believed it was on track to independence from the Netherlands.

However, Indonesia took over the territory and annexed it 1969.

The spokesperson for the Indonesia Human Rights Committee, Maire Leadbetter, says West Papuans never forget the date the flag was first raised, and supporters will be raising it in Auckland’s Queen Street.

"The tragic thing is that in West Papua people are not allowed to fly that flag or even display the symbol of it on their clothing or on their bag, it’s against the rules. So it has a particularly poignant touch to it when we raise it we know that people in West Papua can’t and that they are counting on us to literally keep the flag flying."

[PIR editor’s note: 9 Papuans were arrested last week for raising the separatist flag reportedly a few hours before the Indonesian President was to arrive in the province. The Free Papua Organization was established in 1965 as an indigenous organization to promote self determination and secession of West Papua from Indonesia. Allegations of genocide and human rights abuses persistently surface.]

Maire Leadbetter says flags will also be flown in Christchurch, Wellington and in several areas of Australia.

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