Thousands rally in West Papua: Reject special autonomy, demand referendum on independence
International news agencies have reported on the mass rally in Jayapura, capital of Indonesia's Papua province on July 8th. Thousands of people joined a long march, walking 17 km from the MRP (Majelis Rakyat Papua – Papua People's Assembly) to the DPRP (Dewan Perwakilan Rakyat Papua – Papuan Provincial Legislature), rejecting the Special Autonomy granted by Indonesia in 2001 and demanding a referendum on West Papuan independence and an internationally-mediated dialogue with Jakarta.
As protesters joined the rally from several points in the city, the crowd – claimed by media to number just a few thousand – swelled to nearly 20,000. They occupied the grounds of the provincial legislature under the watchful eye of police and army units.
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