19 Nov 2004

Papua demonstrators claim Indonesia military spreading Aids

8:37 am on 19 November 2004

More than 500 people have demonstrated in the Indonesian province of Papua, accusing the Indonesian military of helping to spread the Aids virus.

The demonstrators assembled outside the provincial parliament in Jayapura yesterday.

They accused soldiers of supplying native Papuans with prostitutes, many of whom were HIV-positive, from army bases in the area.

The groups said the women were given to local men who helped soldiers in illegal logging.

They called on the provincial government to shut down military brothels in the area and take concrete measures to fight HIV, which is thought to be rapidly spreading in the province.

The Indonesian military was not available for comment.