7 May 2009

Protest in Papua over police shooting

11:56 am on 7 May 2009

About 1,000 residents of a town near the main airport of Indonesia's remote Papua province took to the streets yesterday in protest over a man shot dead by police.

Police say the protesters blocked the road to the airport at Sentani, near the provincial capital Jayapura, after police shot dead the relative of an influential tribal chief.

A Papua police spokesman told AFP that the dead man was Agus Ohee, villagers had complained to police of extortion against the man.

He says when policemen came, the drunken Agus Ohee, who was about 20 years old, tried to chase them.

He says one officer shot Mr Ohee in self-defence.

After the shooting protesters blocked the road to the airport, preventing airline passengers from reaching the terminal.

Police say access to the airport was restored five hours later.

Indonesian security forces are frequently accused of rights violations in Papua, which sits at the western end of New Guinea island.

The area has seen a low-level insurgency by poorly armed rebels since its incorporation into Indonesia in the 1960s.