Activists on the Freedom Flotilla, set for an unauthorised landfall on the Indonesian territory of West Papua, arrived at Thursday Island in the Torres Strait on Tuesday. As they plan the last leg of their protest journey, organisers said, international support for the movement for West Papua self-determination was growing.
Meanwhile, "Global support continues to swell for the Freedom Flotilla" said the activists group in a statement issued on Tuesday.
They said letters voicing support for the movement were being received from people in American, Europe, New Zealand, Korea and Japan.
A message from Japan, called on the activists to "never give in to threats by belligerent powers, never go back to apathy and indifference to historical injustice" and to "never give up - on the cries of 'Help!' from our West Papuan brothers and sisters, tortured inhumanely for half-a-century."
Encouraged by the growing international support, activists continued their journey to West Papua and reached Thursday Island, where they will remain for a week, building community networks and organising the last leg of the journey.
As reported earlier, Indonesia has warned the activities that its Navy will intercept and arrest activists trying to illegally enter Indonesian waters. Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr has called the activists "fringe elements" and termed the Freedom Flotilla a "high-risk behaviour"
Meanwhile, organisers said that one of the yachts, sustained engine damage near Escape River in the Cape York Peninsula, and was towed safely to Thursday Island.
In Brisbane, on Monday, supporters of the movement, demonstrated outside the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Offices. A group of 20 protestors marched in the city and delivered a letter calling for the intervention of the Australian government to ensure safe passage for the Freedom Flotilla.
Bishop Emiritus Hilton-Deakin of the Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne joined the broad coalition of public figures who endorsed the letter to Foreign Minister Carr this week, illustrating the widespread support for the Freedom Flotilla.
The organisers said, Francis Janssen, from the Netherlands, who had flown across the world as a show of solidarity from Free Moluku groups in the Netherlands, joined the group this week at Thursday Island.
Meanwhile, in a related incident the four West Papuan leaders, arrested last Wednesday, have been charged with treason under the Indonesian Criminal Code. They were arrested after they raised the banned West Papua Morning Star flag following a church service to pray for the safe passage of the Freedom Flotilla.