AN INDEPENDENCE fighter who hit the headlines after being banned from the New Zealand Parliament has set up his campaign base in Oxford.

Benny Wenda, 37, who lives in Marston Road and has been in Oxford for more than 10 years, on Sunday officially launched his new campaign office for the Free West Papua campaign at the Old Music Hall, Cowley Road.

The father of six has just returned from a world tour to press for West Papua’s independence from Indonesia, which is where he found himself banned from speaking in New Zealand’s Parliament buildings by its speaker, David Carter.

Mr Wenda, 37, said he hoped it would be the first of many campaign offices around the world. He said: “People in Oxford have always supported me and I feel it is time for me to open the office officially.”

Mr Wenda embarked on his international tour after being removed from an Interpol wanted list. He returned three weeks ago, fired up for the next stage of his campaign.

He said: “I am really optimistic because some things you believe in and, because of people power, it will change.”

After the office was officially opened, supporters gathered at East Oxford Community Centre in Princes Street for traditional music and dance.