Translations: Español | Francais
West Papuan independence activists have denounced the use of violence by Indonesian security forces in the lead up to the country’s general elections held on Wednesday.
Dozens of campaigners have reportedly been arrested and beaten for handing out flyers urging people in the region to boycott the elections.
More than 180 million people are estimated to have cast their vote but the arrests have angered West Papuans who allege their peaceful dissidence is routinely met with violence.
Benny Wenda, the exiled leader of the Free West Papua movement which campaigns for West Papuan independence, told Equal Times the arrests demonstrated the lack of democracy in the region.
“My people are living in a prison and are discriminated against in many forms, the current situation is very tense…If there was any democratic space for us in West Papua we would be able to freely express our political opinions.
“Instead the Indonesian Army …