29 Sep 2009

Rallies in Indonesia's Papua region as new "government" announced

10:21 pm on 29 September 2009

Thousands of West Papuans have turned out in rallies in Indonesia's Papua demanding international help in mediating a political settlement between Jakarta and a new so-called West Papua Transitional Authority.

Reports indicate that the rallies in Sorong, Manokwari and Jayapura drew between five and ten thousand people.

The demonstrators called on Australia to facilitate dialogue over Papua issues such as human rights abuses and West Papuan dissatisfaction with Special Autonomy.

Several dozen West Papuans and Australians held a simultaneous rally in Melbourne at Parliament House calling for the publication of an independent report by Australian Federal Police into the murder of Austalian Drew Grant near the Freeport mine in July.

One of the rally organisers, Jacob Rumbiak of the West Papua National Authority, says they have proclaimed the Authority as a new provisional government for West Papuans.

"We want to show the world that we have clear leadership - a student movement and also people inside (Papua) from different backgrounds. They agree we must have clear political leadership inside. Today they announce it."