08/14/2008, 00.00
INDONESIA
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Indonesia, tribal killed by police during indigenous festival

Last August 9, in West Papua, security forces opened fire on the crowd celebrating the international day of indigenous peoples, killing a tribal. The government of Jakarta and the police deny the accusations, and call it an "illegal" demonstration.

Jayapura (AsiaNews) - Last August 9, in connection with the international day of indigenous peoples, Indonesian police fatally wounded a native of the province of West Papua.

The incident took place in the city of Wamena, the capital of the district of Jayawijaya, during celebrations for the day of indigenous peoples; until that moment, there had been no tension and the festival had taken place peacefully. The situation degenerated toward the end of the speech given by Forkorus Yaboisembut, chairman of the Papuan Customary Council, when the crowd began to raise four flags: the flag of the United Nations, the flag of independent West Papua, the symbol S.O.S. - to underscore the emergency situation in the area - and the Indonesian national flag.

As soon as the flags had been raised, the police opened fire at ground level. In the photo, taken from the website FreeWestPapua, one can see Indonesian agents just moments before opening fire on the crowd. One of the stray bullets hit Opius Tabuni, a tribal who at the moment of the shooting was in the area to take part in the celebrations.

The government of Jakarta and the police deny all of the accusations, and deny that there was any shooting on the part of security forces. They are also trying to blame the natives of West Papua for the incident, emphasizing that their demonstration was "illegal" because it had not been authorized.

This accusation is rejected by Reverend Socrates Sofyan Yoman, a Baptist pastor, according to whom the natives had every right to "demonstrate", in part because they are the "original" inhabitants of the zone, and the only ones who "boast a right of ownership" over the territory.

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