21 Dec 2009

Security on high alert in Papua around Kwalik mourning

4:27 pm on 21 December 2009

Indonesian security forces are on high alert in Timika where Papuans have been flocking to pay their last respects to separatist leader Kelly Kwalik.

The leading Free Papua Movement OPM leader was shot dead by police last week, prompting riots among his many supporters in the Mimika regency.

His coffin, draped in the Papuan nationalist Morning Star flag, has laid in state since the weekend at the Mimika Legislative Council building in Timika where it is expected to remain for several days while a date for his funeral is organised.

Meanwhile, 500 angry mourners threw stones at security forces at the weekend in protest at their presence in Papua.

Security forces have since blocked off most outside access to Timika with key sites including the airport, petrol stations, convenience stores and banks, placed under heavy security.

The Mimika Council of Representatives confirmed that Mr Kwalik's family asked that the Morning Star flag be raised at his burial.

The request was denied because the Council agreed it would be a security risk for the flag to be raised.