Violent protest hits Indonesia's Papua province

Source: Xinhua| 2019-09-23 20:07:06|Editor: Xiang Bo
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JAKARTA, Sept. 23 (Xinhua) -- Hundreds of protesters on Monday set fires on homes and other buildings in Indonesia's eastern Papua province in a rally triggered by rumors that a high school teacher had insulted students, the police said.

The furious mobs set fire on local government buildings, cars and motorbikes along a road in Wamena city.

Chief in Papua provincial Police Inspector General Rudolf A. Rodja said the mass staged the protest after their heard a hoax information about racism.

"There was a rumor that a teacher issued racist words to (students). It prompted them to take a solidarity action by holding a protest."

"We have asked the teacher and did not find the racist words. We have confirmed that. So that we call on the people in Wamena not to be easily provoked by information whose validity has not been confirmed," he said.

Gunshots were heard during the protest, local media reported.

The unrest forced some people in the communities to take shelters in police offices and military command headquarters in Wamena.

Operation of the airport in Wamena city was suspended at 10:30 a.m. local time on Monday, head of the airport Joko Harjani said, adding that the airport serves 120 flights daily.

National police spokesman Dedi Prasetyo said the situation in Wamena is being handled by the police and the military personnel.

West Papua and Papua provinces were stricken by a series of protests that turned to violent in August.