28 Apr 2007

Protest in Indonesia's Papua province

9:06 am on 28 April 2007

More than 1,500 student gathered in front of the governors palace in Jayapura, the capital of the Indonesian province of Papua yesterday, demanding an end to the province's special autonomy status, which they say does not work.

The protesters called instead for dialogue with the government to decide the future of the province.

One of the organisers of the protest said the group wanted a three-way dialogue, involving Jakarta, a delegation from Papua and a representative from a neutral organisation.

Papua, which is in the far east of the Indonesian archipelago, was annexed by Jakarta with a controversial referendum in 1969.

The law on the special autonomy status was conceded by Jakarta in 2001 in part to respond to the demand for independence by a large part of the local population.

The protesters say if the call for dialogue does not work, then the group will ask for a referendum where the population will decide.