14 Dec 2004

Police in Indonesian province of Papua warn against independence celebrations

8:11 am on 14 December 2004

Police in the Indonesian province of Papua say anyone found taking part in independence celebrations today will be arrested.

Papua police chief Dodi Sumatiawan says all activities commemorating the state of West Melanesia are unlawful.

He says police will severely punish anyone involved.

Pro-independence leader, Thom Wanggai, declared the independent state of West Melanesia in 1988.

He was later arrested and was found dead in a Jakarta prison in 1996.

Independence celebrations have been illegal in Papua since Indonesia was given control of the former Dutch colony in 1962.