A group of thirty young Papuans, refugees from West Irian, are marching through the Netherlands to demonstrate for honest elections in West Irian, where 30,000 tribesmen are now in rebellion against Indonesian rule.
MARCHERS, WITH BANNERS, CHANTING AND SINGING. (NATSOF)
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: A group of thirty young Papuans, refugees from West Irian, are marching through the Netherlands to demonstrate for honest elections in West Irian, where 30,000 tribesmen are now in rebellion against Indonesian rule.
The group, carrying banners with slogans like "Indonesia killer of my people", "Netherlands where is your responsibility" and "One man One Vote", plan to reach the Hague on Friday (9 May) where they will hold a meeting attended by members of the Papauan colony.
Indonesia has sent an extra five hundred paratroops into West Irian, the former Dutch colony of West new Guinea, to quell a new revolt of over thirty thousand tribesmen of the area of Enarotali. Some government troops have been stationed in West Irian since it became part of Indonesia in 1963.
The tribesmen have blockaded five airfields in the central highlands, cutting furrow across them to prevent Indonesian aircraft from landing. Two of them are Indonesian army airfields at Enarotali and Waghete. The others are missionary airfields - the only ones giving access to remote districts. The revolt is the first known organised resistance in West Irian to Indonesian rule.
The Deputy Foreign Minister for West Irianian Affairs has said that he believes rebel leaders to be associated with the "Free Papau" movement said to be fighting for an independent Papuan state in West Irian.
When Indonesia took over the territory from the Netherlands it gave an undertaking that it would consult West Irian's 750,000 people about their future. That consultation is due to take place this year, and there are complaints from the Irianese that it is not being democratically organised.