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Protesters dispersed

Wednesday 21 September 2016 | Published in Regional

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WEST PAPUA – Thousands of Papuans rallying yesterday across Indonesia were reportedly dispersed by police and at least 75 were arrested.

The rallies were in support of the Pacific Coalition on West Papua’s bid to make a call at the UN General Assembly for an intervention into human rights abuses in West Papua.

Translated reports from various Papuan news sites paint a sketchy picture of arbitrary arrests carried out by authorities over the weekend leading up to Monday’s demonstrations.

In the regency of Yakuhimo, rally coordinator Yallenang Wakla said security forces blocked their attempts to march at every turn.

He said in the end organisers were given only 35 minutes to make a speech before the gathering was dispersed by authorities.

However, Yakuhimo police chief Anthony Maring said they had already rejected an application for the demonstration, because of previous incidents where things got out of hand.

Maring said he simply wanted to avoid any unrest, and he did not condone involving minors in such rallies, especially when they did not understand what it was about.

- RNZI

Toilet builders celebrate a job well done

FIJI – A group of volunteers on a remote Fiji island are heading home today, after six months of building toilets and living in tents.

Koro Island was severely hit by the category five Cyclone Winston hit in February. Eight people on the island were killed at the height of the storm.

All Hands Volunteers director Reuben Grandon said his group had achieved a ratio of ten people to every toilet, after arriving in March to respond to grave concerns over sanitation and health.

Grandon said the toilets were designed to last another six months, before permanent housing with flush toilets could be built.

He said tents were getting worn out and it was a huge relief for locals to finally receive building materials last week.

“It’s been tough, you know you don’t see a lot of the affects I think because the Fijian

people seem to be so resilient and so happy.

“The tarps are getting worn, some of the wind damage, the tents are getting leaky so they’re getting wet. It’s good that Red Cross has more tarps to distribute and it’s really good to see some more permanent structures coming in.”

- RNZI