ABEPURA, Indonesia: Indonesian security forces stormed a pro-independence assembly in eastern Papua province Wednesday, firing tear gas and warning shots, and rounding up hundreds, witnesses and reports said.
Hundreds of paramilitary police and army troops surrounded the estimated 5,000 participants at the Papuan Congress, held at an open field in Abepura outside the provincial capital Jayapura, witnesses said.
There were no immediate reports of casualties, as police dispersed a diverse crowd which included youths and human rights activists as well as tribal and religious leaders.
"They got in and started firing tear gas, trampling and beating up the crowd with their bare fists and rifle butts until they were black and blue," rights activist Paskalis Tonggap told AFP.
Another witness, Markus Haluk, a leader of a Papuan youth organisation, said that police and troops had surrounded the congress with anti-riot trucks since morning and fired warning shots.
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