Indonesia: Violent Protests Against Violence

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December 10, 2007: The UN has concluded that foreign peacekeepers will have to be stationed there indefinitely. This duty seems likely to fall to Australia, a neighboring country that does not want to see East Timor descend into anarchy, and become a haven for terrorists and people smugglers.

December 5, 2007: In Papua, demonstrations against tribal violence, mainly by women upset at government inability to halt the fighting, turned violent. Police shot three of the demonstrators, who were throwing rocks at the police. Two of the demonstrators died. Most Indonesians are Malay, while the largely tribal peoples of Papua are Melanesian. The two groups do not get along, partly because the Malays are better educated and organized. Most of the Papuan tribes want more autonomy, or even independence. But the tribes have many feuds with each other, which makes it easier for the national government to maintain control of the region (which is the western half of the island of New Guinea.) There are about 250 tribes in Papua, but some of the larger ones are involved in the fighting, which is apparently over personal issues, and real estate.These feuds have caused over a hundred casualties this year. The fighting is taking place in remote areas, and the police are having a hard time gathering information, much less halting the violence.

December 1, 2007: In Papua, police arrested twenty people, after hundreds rallied and raised a separatist flag.

 

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