Pacific / West Papua

Dozens arrested over Papuan flag day anniversary celebrations

12:07 pm on 2 December 2019

Indonesian police in Jayapura have arrested dozens of people for planning to celebrate a key West Papuan nationalist anniversary.

People raising the banned Papuan national Morning Star flag in Indonesia run the risk of imprisonment. Photo: AFP

Yesterday was the 58th anniversary of the first official raising of the Papuan Morning Star flag, when the indigenous people of the former Dutch New Guinea declared independence.

The Morning Star was subsequently banned after Indonesia took over, but a number of global rallies regularly mark this anniversary by displaying the flag.

Jayapura police told the Antara news agency that 34 people were arrested late on Saturday for allegedly planning to celebrate the Free Papua Movement's anniversary.

Elsewhere in the West Papuan capital, four other people were arrested for wearing Morning Star symbols or decorations.

CNN reports that police have deployed 1300 personnel to secure Papua region around the anniversary.

Police say they have reached agreement with local governments in Papua to ban any form of activity commemorating the anniversary.

The Papuan Morning Star on a billboard in Wellington where a rally to mark the 'flag day' anniversary is held each year. Photo: RNZ Pacific