Bougainville islanders raised their spears in salute on Monday (1 September) as their secessionist leaders declared independence from Papua New Guinea.
GV crowds assembled for ceremony
SV PAN Spectators
SV & CU Tribes-people sign as new flag raised (2 shots)
SV & CU Alexis Sarei speaks from dias (2 shots)
CU Leo Hannett listens (3 shots)
SV PAN CU Sarei to crowd, some wearing independence T-shirts (2 shots)
SV Tribal dancing (2 shots)
TRANSCRIPT: SEQ. 5: ALEXIS SAREI: "Today is a day that the leaders of Bougainville and the members of the Assembly of bougainville, soon to be called the Assembly of the Republic of the North Solomon, and their people have appointed to proclaim to the world their acceptance of the great and arduous duty of running their own country."
ED's NOTE: This film is serviced with a speech in English by Doctor sarei
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: Bougainville islanders raised their spears in salute on Monday (1 September) as their secessionist leaders declared independence from Papua New Guinea.
Over 5,000 people were reported to have watched the ceremony as the new Bougainville flag - a green and white sun on a blue background - was unfurled, on the copper rich island.
Declaring the break-away, the chairman of the Bougainville Provincial Government, Doctor Alexis Sarei would soon be renamed the Republic of the North Solomon.
He said that Monday was the day the island's leaders had chosen to proclaim to the world their acceptance of the great and arduous duty of running their own country. The fabulous wealth of Bougainville's copper mine is a basic part of the island's post independence economic plan.
Doctor Sarei said that independence was their answer to years of indifference by Australian and Papua New Guinea Governments. And Bougainville district planner, Leo Hannett said they had been sold out by the United Nations who approved Papua New Guinea's independence for 16 September.
Bougainville had suffered rebuffs, deceit and underhanded tactics from the Papua New Guinea Government -- a Government of which Bougainville would once have gladly been part. Now the secessionists aim to upset the independence celebrations.
No incidents were reported from the island during the secession ceremony. But reports from both Australia and Papua New Guinea suggest that both Governments will not accept the secession.
Both the Papua New Guinea Chief Minister, Mr. Somare and the Australian Prime Minister Mr. Gough Whitlam have rejected Bougainville's bid for independence.
Mr. Somare has said that every precaution will be taken to maintain law and order. Meanwhile he says that he's ignoring the secession, and that government services will continue to operate on the island.