8 Apr 2009

Indonesian police injure 11 in Papua protest - hospital

7:22 am on 8 April 2009

Indonesian police shot and injured 11 people on Monday at a pro-independence rally in Papua province, where demonstrators urged an election boycott and protested about a police raid, a hospital worker says.

Indonesia holds parliamentary elections on Thursday, and a presidential election on 8 July.

But in Papua, on the western half of New Guinea island, where a separatist movement has simmered for decades, some Papuans have been calling for a boycott of the election.

A hospital worker told the Reuters news agency that at least 11 people were shot and brought to Nabire Regional Public Hospital, among them a primary school-aged child.

Habel Nawipa, a member of the West Papuan National Committee, a pro-independence organisation, said that the protest followed a dawn raid by police on the KNPB office in Nabire.

He said several armed police set fire to the office and took 15 people to Nabire police station.

Nabire police chief Rinto Djatmono declined to comment.