Indonesian soldiers and police have reportedly opened fire at the Papuan Peoples’ Congress in Jayapura, West Papua, where up to 20,000 people had gathered to hear delegates discuss their rights to self-determination.
Early reports said Papuan leaders had declared independence from Indonesian when the army and police moved in and arrested separatist leaders Edison Waromi and Forkorus Yaboisembut.
Nick Chesterfield from West Papua Media told SBS there were conflicting reports about whether it was the army or the police that started shooting.
No injuries or deaths were confirmed, though Mr Chesterfield said that casualties had been reported.
There had been sightings of thousands of people fleeing to the hills, Mr Chesterfield said.
Regional Military Commander Major General Erfi Triassunu told the Jakarta Globe that the Indonesian Military (TNI) began firing “warning shots” after the independence declaration.
A local journalist told the Globe the congress turned into “chaos” after the shots were fired about 3pm local time (5pm AEDT).