Separatist leader Josephine Abaijah unilaterally declared independence for Papua New Guinea at a mass rally in Port Moresby on Sunday (16 March).
GV AND SV Separatist supporters along road singing (3 shots)
SV Papuan flag
SV Separatist leader Josephine Abaijah returning gifts to Australia
GV Villagers listening
SV AND GV Flag being hoisted (2 shots)
Initials CL/2009 CL/2019
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Background: Separatist leader Josephine Abaijah unilaterally declared independence for Papua New Guinea at a mass rally in Port Moresby on Sunday (16 March).
About 3,000 cheering people gathered at a colourful rally in support of the move to turn the Australian territory into an independent state.
The ceremony was held near the spot where in 1884 Australia formally annexed the territory with a gift of two twists of tobacco, a knife, three navy biscuits, an axe and a length of calico.
Miss Abaijah ceremonially returned the gifts during the rally. Soon after the declaration leaders of the Separatist Movement said they would meet within the next few weeks to select an interim government.
The news was not, however, entirely well received by other politicians. Already the deputy Chief Minister, Dr. John Guise, has condemned it as "the action of a small group who were totally unrepresentative of the Territory as a whole".
There is a considerable dissension among Papuan and New Guinean (from the North) politician on the independence issue. It has been reported that they wanted separate states, instead of a united country.
The Australian Government has agreed to give them full independence later this year.