2 police officers killed in protest in Indonesian Papua province

Protesters beat two police officers to death after clashes broke out during a demonstration Thursday to demand the closure of a U.S.-owned gold mine in Papua province, police and witnesses said.

One other unidentified person also died, said Col. Kertono Wangsadisastra, but he provided no further details.

The killings took place on the third day of violent protests in Papua against the mine run by the New Orleans-based Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc., and will likely raise tensions in the remote region further.

The demonstrators cornered the two officers and beat them with sticks and stones near a major university in the provincial capital of Jayapura, an Associated Press reporter at the scene said.

Metro TV reported the officers' bodies were then set alight, though police did not confirm that.

He said the killers had fled into nearby a jungle, and police were pursuing them.

Earlier, police clashed with hundreds of rock-throwing protesters who had blocked the road outside the campus, demanding the government close the mine. Several demonstrators were also injured in the melee, witnesses said.

"We want Freeport to close because it has not given any benefits to the people of Papua, in fact it's made them suffer," said protester Kosmos Yual.

Freeport, which pays millions of dollars in taxes and funds scores of community projects close to the mine in central Papua, was forced to temporarily shut the facility last month after demonstrators blockaded it, reports the AP.


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