2 Jul 2007

State of emergency declared in Papua after Jakarta objects to a flag raising campaign

7:02 pm on 2 July 2007

Indonesian security forces have declared a state of emergency in the Wamena area of Papua province in response to a Morning Star flag-raising campaign.

The flag is a symbol of West Papuan self-determination aspirations, and is historically raised by Papuans around July 1st.

But while the flag is officially allowed to be displayed under the Special Autonomy law, flag raisings are routinely suppressed by the Indonesian security forces.

Yesterday the Indonesian military, or TNI, started shooting in villages in Bolakme when the flag was raised.

However, the Free Papua Movement, or OPM, and its aligned group, the TPN, intend to continue their current flag-raising campaign until Wednesday.

A OPM/TPN spokesman, Jonah Wenda, says they are prepared to face consequences for raising their independence flag.

"The state of emregency has been declared by TNI and police in Wamena because of this issue of raising the flag and [the state of emergency will run] until fourth of July, to stop any movement against Indonesian rules.'"