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Home » , , , , , , , , , » Human Rights Activist Arrested for Unfurling Morning Star Flag Near SBY

Human Rights Activist Arrested for Unfurling Morning Star Flag Near SBY

Written By Voice Of Baptist Papua on November 1, 2012 | 2:05 AM

Activists Protes UK
Police in London detained Peter Tatchell, an Australian-born human rights activist, on Wednesday after he unfurled the West Papuan Morning Star flag as Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s limousine departed from Westminster Abbey.

“I was arrested for peaceful protest against #Indonesia crimes in #WestPapua,” he tweeted. “Only held a flag.”

The 60-year-old Tatchell said he was wrestled to the ground by Yudhoyono’s presidential security guard (Paspampres) before he was arrested by Metropolitan Police officers.

“The president stands accused of war crimes in East Timor and West Papua,” Tatchell said on his foundation’s website, petertatchellfoundation.org.

“It is appalling that the Royal Family and the Prime Minister are hosting a man who is implicated in mass murder,” he went on. “I am saddened that some police officers apparently have no respect for freedom of expression and the right to peaceful protest.

According to Tatchell, he was released without charge two hours after being taken to Charring Cross police station.

“Clearly, the police knew they had over-stepped the mark and that the charges against me were baseless,” he said.

Tatchell had been planning to perform a citizen’s arrest — something he has attempted before — on Yudhoyono, but failed to do so.

In 2001, Tatchell, who is a well-known for gay rights proponent, was attacked by Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe’s security personnel during a visit to Brussels.

Beside Tatchell, dozens of protesters on Wednesday denounced alleged human rights abuses in Indonesia and accused Britain of putting commercial interest ahead of basic freedoms.

“The West Papuans are being held, tortured and killed and all England and the whole European Union do is back him [Yudhoyono] up — they are only in it for the money,’ protester Nal Pattinama said with tears in her eyes, as quoted by Reuters.

Indonesia’s government and military have been criticized in the past for human rights abuses in West Papua after Indonesia took over the province in 1969 via a vote by community leaders that was widely criticized as rigged.

A low-level insurgency for independence has simmered on Indonesia’s eastern-most island for decades.

Protesters, some wearing Halloween masks and ghoulish face paint, gathered outside the prime minister’s office on Downing Street and waved red paint-splattered placards calling for the release of Papuan political prisoners, imprisoned for advocating independence from Indonesia.

Others, including representatives from Amnesty International and Indonesian non-government organizations, waved West Papuan flags, an act they said is punishable by 15 years in prison in Indonesia.

“It’s disgusting that one can walk up towards [Buckingham Palace] and the Indonesian flag is flown on behalf of our government supporting the likes of Indonesia,” protester Bob Corn said.

 Source News: The Jakarta Globe

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