Dutch journalists detained

Dutch journalists detained

JAYAPURA (Indonesia) - FOUR Dutch journalists were detained by police in Indonesia's remote Papua region on Tuesday for reporting on a protest calling for independence from Jakarta, police said.

The reporters were taken in as they covered the rally in the sensitive region, the site of a long-running insurgency by the pro-independence Free Papua Movement (OPM), police chief Bagus Eko Danto told AFP.

The four were following the return of OPM co-founder Nicholas Jouwe to Indonesia after more than 40 years in exile in the Netherlands, Mr Danto said, and are being held in immigration detention.

'Nicholas Jouwe's group had already left the area in the morning but they also covered the rally, despite not having permits,' Mr Danto said.

Around 1,000 protesters converged on the provincial parliament amid a tight police presence to call for a boycott of national legislative elections on April 9 and a referendum for independence in the resource-rich region.

The 85-year-old Jouwe arrived in Indonesia last week, calling for peace between the Indonesian government and Papuans during a meeting with Welfare Minister Aburizal Bakrie.

Papua, which sits on the western end of New Guinea island, was formally incorporated into Indonesia after a 1969 UN-backed vote by tribal elders widely seen as a sham. -- AFP