Protesters in Indonesia’s easternmost region of Papua have set buildings ablaze in the provincial capital Jayapura, forcing the state power firm to cut off electricity in some districts, state media and an executive of the utility said.
Police fired tear gas to disperse demonstrators who also set fire to cars and threw stones at shops and offices on Thursday, state news agency Antara said. Protesters also torched a local parliament office. “Several public facilities and properties were damaged by rioters,” national police spokesman Dedi Prasetyo said.
In the wake of Thursday’s unrest, Papuan independence leader Benny Wenda called for UN to act on the crisis, the result of related protests about racism, discrimination and calls for independence. “Indonesian security services may turn it into a bloodbath,” Wenda said, referring to the 1991 Santa Cruz massacre in which hundreds of mourners at a funeral were shot by Indonesian forces.
The region has been racked by civil unrest for two weeks over reports of racial and ethnic discrimination. Some protesters are also demanding an independence vote – a move ruled out by the security minister on Thursday.
Tags: Papua New Guinea