2 Dec 2013

PNG arrests Papua demonstration organisers

7:14 am on 2 December 2013

Three people were arrested by Papua New Guinea police in Port Moresby for organising a rally yesterday to mark the 52nd anniversary of the West Papuan declaration of independence.

The anniversary was marked throughout the Indonesian region of West Papua and in neighbouring PNG's capital a rally saw upwards of a thousand people.

The rally worked its way to Port Moresby's City Hall where the capital's governor, Powes Parkop had the Morning Star Flag raised, which in Indonesia is a crime.

Earlier in the day, Mr Parkop says he had to step in to stop his special guests at the event, the West Papuan activist Benny Wenda and his lawyer Jennifer Robinson, from being arrested.

PNG immigration authorities had threatened to have the pair deported if they took part in any political activity.

Mr Parkop told the rally that Indonesia's government has put pressure on PNG's government to clamp down on freedom of expression over the West Papua issue.

Meanwhile, three PNG citizens - Fred Mambrasar, Tony Fofoe and Patrick Kaiku - are in police custody for their efforts to organise the rally.