5 Mar 2010

Ni-Vanuatu march with petition supporting West Papuan independence

3:14 pm on 5 March 2010

The Vanuatu Free West Papua Association has held a peaceful demonstration in Port Vila in support of West Papua's independence from Indonesia.

The march proceeded through the capital's main street to the head office of the National Council of the Chiefs where demonstrators handed over a petition reiterating support for West Papuan self-determination efforts.

The petition was signed by more than 1,100 Ni-Vanuatu living in Vanuatu, New Caledonia and Fiji.

It was received by the president of the National Council of Chiefs, Gratien Alguet, who then handed it over to the foreign minister, Joe Natuman.

Mr Natuman told the marchers that even though the government has diplomatic relations with Indonesia, he will continue to voice his support for West Papua's independence at the UN and Pacific Islands Forum levels.