Nine people have been arrested after displaying the West Papua flag in Indonesia’s remote Papua province.
Eight men and a woman unfurled the banned “Morning Star” flag on Saturday in a village in Jayawijaya district, local police chief I Gede Sumerta Jaya said.
“We arrested nine people and they’re being investigated. They had raised the Morning Star flag. We found the flag and a wooden pole,” he told AFP.
“They’re likely to be named suspects on charges of plotting against the state,” he added.
Anyone convicted of displaying separatist symbols faces possible life sentence in Indonesia, a sprawling archipelago with a history of secessionist rebellions.
Indonesia won sovereignty over Papua, a former Dutch colony on the western half of New Guinea island, in 1969 after a vote among a select group of Papuans widely seen as a sham.
Many Papuans accuse Indonesia’s military of violating human rights in the province and complain that the bulk of earnings from its rich natural resources flow to Jakarta.