Fri, 11 Feb 2000

Peaceful rally held in Irian

WAMENA, Irian Jaya: Thousands of people conducted a peaceful rally for independence here on Thursday rejecting a government- offered wide-ranging autonomy.

With some donning traditional costumes, the people came from various villages in Jayawijaya regency, recounted Father Mick Tekege, Kimbim parish priest, and Viktor Kudiay, a principal of a Catholic senior high school in Wamena.

Also seen at the gathering were Jayawijaya Military Commander Lt. Col. Paulus Supono, Jayawijaya Police Chief Lt. Col. D. Suripaty and four provincial legislators led by Demas Paty from the Golkar Party.

Viktor said the speakers during the rally asked the legislators to convey their demands to Jakarta.

Several shops and kiosks were closed for several hours due to the rally. (eba)