Greens fly West Papua flag in stroud PDF Afdrukken

On Saturday, 1st December, Green party members including Mayor John Marjoram and Parliamentary spokesperson Martin Whiteside, flew the West Papua flag in Stroud High Street campaigning for that country's right to independence. To fly the flag in West Papua would lead to a lengthy jail sentence or being shot.

 

Acties 2008 dec 1It was on this day on 1961 that the Dutch left West Papua and granted its people independence. West Papuans were able to celebrate their independence by raising their flag and singing their national anthem for only three months until Indonesia invaded and occupied the country. West Papuans were also able to celebrate this their National Day between 1999 and 2000 but these events are once again banned by the Indonesian government.Under Indonesian occupation between 100,000 and 300,000 West Papuans have been killed, and many others tortured raped and imprisoned. Despite this oppression West Papuans continue to campaign for their right to self determinations.

 

This year the Indonesian military opened fire on a peaceful ceremony in a church and eight people remain in prison for raising the flag1. In 2004 events on the 1st December resulted in the arrest of Filep Karma & Yusak Pakage who raised the Morning Star flag on a sports field in the grounds of Cenderwasih (Bird of Paradise) University as part of a peaceful prayer ceremony. For this “crime”, Filep & Yusak are now serving 15 & 10 year prison sentences and are suffering torture. Both are recognised by Amnesty International as prisoners of conscience.

 

Elinor Croxall said of the event in Stroud “We are raising the Morning Star here in Stroud in solidarity with those in West Papua who face arrest, torture and indefinite imprisonment for doing the same in their home country.”

 

Elinor, who also attended demonstrations in London outside the Indonesian Embassy and the offices of BP and Rio Tinto on Friday 31st December, said “There are a number of multinationals, including UK based companies, who are complicit in the forceful removal of West Papuans from their land and the brutality of the Indonesian military. I hope next year Stroud District Council will support the event and fly the Morning Star”.

 

Further information, including urgent actions following events in West Papua on the 1st December, can be found at http://www.freewestpapua.org/

 

See more re recent Amnesty meeting in Stroud with West Papua Leader Benny Wenda here