Indonesia beefs up security in Papua province hinh anh 1Indonesian police (Source: AFP/VNA)

Jakarta (VNA) -
Indonesia on August 21 deployed more than 1,000 security personnel to Papua province amid spreading protests and violence.

About 1,000 people protested in the streets of Timika city, throwing rocks at the local parliament building as they tried to tear down its fence. The crowd began to disperse as riot police fired warning shots.

Thousands of people, mostly university students, turned out to protest against racism and discrimination on August 19. They blocked roads, damaged an airport and set fire to the headquarters of the Regional Legislative Council.

Authorities are hunting for more than 250 inmates who had escaped from a prison in Sorong that was torched during the riots.

Anger boiled over at reports that authorities tear-gassed and detained some 43 Papuan university students in the country's second-biggest city, Surabaya, on August 17 - Indonesia's Independence Day. The students were detained but released hours later after no evidence was found that they had damaged the flag.

Papua is a former Dutch colony in the western part of New Guinea that is ethnically and culturally distinct from much of Indonesia. It was incorporated into Indonesia in 1969 after a U.N.-sponsored ballot that was seen as a sham by many. - VNA