Papuans Rally for Independence From Indonesia as Group Declares Government in Exile

Papuans held demonstrations across at least eight cities in Indonesia to demand independence, as a separatist announced it had implemented a provisional government in exile.

Papuans held demonstrations across at least eight cities in Indonesia to demand independence, as a separatist announced it had implemented a provisional government in exile. 

The protests have marked the anniversary of West Papua’s declaration of independence from Dutch rule in 1961, which was eventually followed by a contentious U.N.-sanctioned referendum in 1969 that has brought Papua under Indonesian control.

Among more than 100 students who have participated in the rally, Papuan Roland Levy said that the date continued to stay relevant decades on.

“My goal in joining the rally today is to commemorate 59 years of the proclamation of independence of the West Papuan nation that was annexed by Indonesia,” Roland Levy said.

Some Papuans consider the 1969 plebiscite as unfair and claim that intimidation was used to influence the outcome. 

Jakarta has denied accusations.


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