22 May 2015

70 West Papua activists detained

9:12 am on 22 May 2015

The police in Indonesia's West Papua detained 70 activists rallying in support of West Papuan membership of the Melanesian Spearhead Group on Wednesday.

The Jakarta Globe says dozens of protestors, including students and members of pro-independence group the West Papua National Committee (KNPB), took to the streets of provincial capital Manokwari.

KNPB spokesman Sarpas Mbisikmbk says at least 70 members of the KNPB were arrested during the rally and are being questioned by police.

He says protestors had gathered to show support for the MSG bid of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULM).

The ULM, which is made up of the KNPB, the West Papua National Coalition for Liberation and the Federal Republic of West Papua, was formed late last year.

It is seeking full membership of the MSG, an inter-governmental grouping of Melanesian states.

A Papua police spokesman says the protesters did not have a permit to rally and they would be questioned to find out "which group they belonged to."

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