ABC Radio: ‘Free West Papua’ message at Bluesfest

11 April, 2012

Pro-West Papuan activists took the Byron Bluesfest stage to spread their message of wanting independence from Indonesia


The Byron BluesFest got a little political this year when thousands of people yelled out the words ‘Free Papua’ during one of the headline performances.

Blue King Brown used their show to highlight the issues facing Indigenous Papuans wanting independence in the Indonesian-run country.

Pro-West Papuan activists took to the stage with dance and drumming and then did something unimaginable in West Papua and in fact illegal in Australia – they waved the West Papuan flag.

The dance duo was Ronnie Kareni and Sam Roem and they were joined by Papuan drummer Airileke Ingram.

Sam was one of a canoe-load of West Papuans who made it to Australian shores in 2006.

He then applied for asylum in Australia.

ABC north coast journalist Elloise Farrow-Smith spoke with Sam and Ronnie before they took to the Bluesfest stage.

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