TITLE=INDONESIA / IRIAN JAYA (L-ONLY)
INTRO: An estimated 20 thousand people gathered
Wednesday in the capital of the Indonesian
province of Irian Jaya, to raise the flag of the
separatist movement pressing for independence
from Indonesia. Patricia Nunan reports from
Jakarta that the symbolic gesture is expected to
be repeated on Saturday in the northern province
of Aceh, where Indonesian security forces are
bracing for violence on the anniversary of a
guerilla separatist movement there.
TEXT: Thousands of people in the city of
Jayapura wept as the anthem of the separatist
group the "Free Papua Movement," was played.
Demonstration leaders also raised the "Morning
Star" flag of the separatists, before hoisting
the Indonesian flag.
It has been 38 years since Dutch colonialists
last allowed the separatist flag to be raised.
Three years later, the region's independence
movement was dampened by a special ballot
resulting in West Papua becoming Irian Jaya, a
province of Indonesia, some four-thousand
kilometers east of the capital, Jakarta.
A low-intensity independence campaign has been
waged ever since, with separatist leaders
demanding that the United Nations overturn the
results of the 1964 ballot.
Irian Jaya is one of several Indonesian provinces
pushing for independence from Jakarta, because of
alleged human rights abuses by the military and
because of growing resentment of the central
government's alleged exploitation of the
provinces' natural resources.
Separatist leaders in Irian Jaya say they will
not accept plans proposed by Indonesian President
Abdurrahman Wahid for a special autonomy package
for the province -- which would allow local
people greater control over the province's
The separatists say they want nothing less than
independence and the complete withdrawal of the
Indonesian military by the first of May, next
Meanwhile, tension is mounting in the northern
province of Aceh, where separatists are expected
to make a symbolic gesture by raising the flag of
the "Free Aceh Movement" Saturday, the 23rd
anniversary of the guerrillas' declaration of
Almost 900 extra police have been sent to the
province because of fears violence will erupt.
Thousands of people have been leaving the
province over the past few weeks because of fears
of clashes between the military and separatist
December 4th is also the deadline local
parliamentary leaders gave the government in
Jakarta to declare readiness to hold an
independence referendum in Aceh. They say they
will hold one themselves, if the central
government does not do so.
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Separatists in Aceh and Irian Jaya have been
emboldened by what is seen as a victory for East
Timor -- where the people were recently allowed
to vote on whether or not to separate from
The Indonesian government granted East Timor
independence in September after the ballot
revealed almost 80-percent of the people wanted
the territory to become independent.
01-Dec-1999 04:48 AM EDT (01-Dec-1999 0948 UTC)
Source: Voice of America
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