PORT MORESBY (PNG Today/NBC/PNG Loop/Pacific Media Watch): Seven protesters were arrested and detained for staging a “mini gathering” during the arrival of Indonesian President Joko Widodo to Papua New Guinea yesterday.
The group of less then 10 people were picked up at Six Mile market roundabout for displaying placards and banners to show their support for their "West Papuan brothers".
Among those detained were two sisters below the age of 19 and their father.
The detainees told NBC news at the station that police had approached them heavily armed.
The protesters said they were not armed and they were only standing to welcome the president.
But they were also waving the West Papuan Morning Star flag – banned in Indonesia - and placards to show their support for their "Melanesian brothers".
The seven were released after spending six hours in the cell.
President Widodo arrived in Port Moresby and paid a courtesy call on Governor-General, Grand Chief Sir Michael Ogio and wife, Lady Esmie, at Government House.
The president's arrival at Jackson's International Airport on board an Indonesian Boeing 737 VIP aircraft was greeted with a 21-gun salute from the PNG Defence Force.
Security was beefed up at the airport and around the city involving the Defence, Police and Correctional Services, as the Indonesian President and his entourage convoyed to Government House and returned to his hotel room.
He attended a dinner hosted by Prime Minister Peter O'Neill and wife, Lynda Babao, at the State Function Room in Parliament, last night.
PNG Loop reported that O’Neill had said at the dinner he looked to work with Indonesia, and to “use our special connection” with the Melanesian people of Papua and West Papua to encourage peace and stability.
PNG to use ‘special connections’ with Papua
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