Solidarity march for West Papua

​The blue, white and read colours of the Morning Star took over the main street of Honiara, capital of Solomon Islands on Friday, as locals showed their support for West Papua.

Among the marchers were community leaders, politicians, church ministers and youth advocates.
Journalists estimated the crowd at over 200 that marched from the town's central market to the main government building, not far from the office of Prime Minister Mannaseh Sogavare.
One of Sogavare's daughters and a niece were among the pro-West Papua marchers, and it came a day after Sogavare announced that his government would not support the West Papua pro-independence's application for full membership of the MSG.
An observer status for the group would be more acceptable, he said.
Not far from where the march ended is Heritage Park Hotel where senior officials of the Melanesian Spearhead Group are meeting to finalise the agenda of their Leaders biennial summit at the same venue this week.

Meanwhile, a Solomon Islands MP has questioned the government's announcement about exploring greater representation of Indonesia in the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG).
The Manasseh Sogavare-led government, which hosts the MSG Leaders summit next week, says it will not back the United Liberation Movement for West Papua as a full member of the MSG, but would endorse West Papua to be an observer, “only to one united group”.
It says that any bid for full membership representing Melanesians throughout Indonesia must be united and done in consultation with Jakarta.
The West Makira MP, Derrick Manuari, says given the strong public support for the West Papuans, the announcement is a sign of weak decision-making.
“The decision by the government of Solomon Islands is not good enough. It misrepresents the public opinion of Solomon Islanders and the very people whom they represent in government. The government is actually using rhetoric to continue their vagueness on the position on the West Papua issue.”
The Solomon islands government also urges the MSG to continue looking at ways to make Indonesia an associate member of the MSG.
Manuari says these moves to promote the representation of Indonesia within the group go against the founding spirit of the MSG.
“The Melanesian Spearhead Group is a body that was established to promote the solidarity and the rights of Melanesian states and territories. And that is the very reason why the FLNKS (Kanak movement of New Caledonia) was admitted into the group and not France, for that matter. And in this case, they are promoting an elevation of Indonesia's membership.”
The Melanesian Spearhead Group is wrestling with a range of different views on a West Papua membership application.
Leading members of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua are already in the Solomon Islands capital, ahead of the Leaders Summit which is expected to focus on a decision on the membership bid.