Mass Protests Take Place Across Indonesia’s Papua Region

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Pacific Islands Development Program, East-West Center With Support From Center for Pacific Islands Studies, University of Hawai‘i

Marches support United Liberation Movement’s bid for MSG membership

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, April 13, 2016) – Demonstrations in support of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua have been taking place in cities across Indonesia's Papua region today.

Ground reports said large peaceful demonstrations have been held in the seven main cities of Papua and West papua provinces: Jayapura, Yakuhimo, Manokwari, Fak-Fak, Merauke, Timika and Sorong.

The demonstrations have been voicing support for the Liberation Movement to become full members of the Melanesian Spearhead Group.

The Movement was last year granted observer status in the MSG, whose full members are Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu, Fiji, Solomon Islands and the Kanaks of New Caledonia.

Indonesia was last year granted associate member status at the MSG and has been opposed to the Liberation Movement's participation in political representation of West Papuans.

Early reports from the Papua cities today indicated large numbers of security forces were being deployed to the demonstrations.

West Papua Media reported that by mid afternoon in the Jayapura rally, eleven demonstrators had been arrested and subsequently released.

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