Mon Jan 23, 2:48 PM ET
JAKARTA, Indonesia - About 200 protesters stormed Parliament in Indonesia’s restive Papua province on Monday to demand the withdrawal of troops from the region, witnesses said. Calm was restored by nightfall.
Two policemen were injured in the melee in the provincial capital, Jayapura, state news agency Antara reported. Authorities in Jayapura were not available for comment.
Tensions have been high in the province since Friday when security forces opened fire on a group of protesters outside a central Papua police station, killing one person and injuring two.
Witnesses said the demonstrators barged past police guarding the Parliament building, shouting, "Indonesian troops get out of West Papua !"
The protesters left after meeting legislators, and the town was calm by nightfall, witnesses said.
Remote Papua province is on the western part of an island just north of Australia and independence activists normally refer to it as West Papua, the term first adopted by the nationalist movement there. The eastern part forms the country of Papua New Guinea.
Papua was integrated into Indonesia in 1969 after a referendum, since dismissed as a sham.
Local and international rights groups have repeatedly accused police and soldiers of abuses in the oil- and gas-rich province in Indonesia’s far east.
Last week, 43 asylum seekers from Papua, including independence advocates and their families, arrived in nearby northeastern Australia in a traditional outrigger boat and accused Indonesia of genocide.
Unlike Indonesia’s mainly ethnic Malay inhabitants, Papuans are ethnic Melanesians. Most Indonesians are Muslims, but Papuans are Christians or animists.