2 Dec 2002

Activists mark the 41st anniversary of the separatist movement in Papua in Indonesia

8:17 am on 2 December 2002

Some fifteen hundred people have marked the 41st anniversary of the separatist movement in Indonesia's Papua province.

They gathered for a ceremony at the grave of murdered rebel leader, Theys Eluay.

Indonesian police earlier seized a small separatist flag at the grave, but no arrests were made.

Indonesian officials have warned against any flying of the separatist flag.

Independence activists had already said that they would not hoist the Morning Star in an effort to avoid violence.

Last week, police arrested 21 people for raising the flag in Manokwari in north-western Papua.

Indonesia won sovereignty over Papua, which was then called West Irian, in 1969 after the United Nations allowed an integration referendum with a public show of hands by a few hundred hand-picked tribal leaders.