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Subject: E Timor rocked by peaceful actions, 14-18 December
Date: Wed, 23 Dec 1998 16:05:19 GMT

The following is a slightly abridged translation of a report posted by FORTILOS, the Solidarity Forum for the People of East Timor, on 18 December. Apologies for not posting this sooner. TAPOL]

Yayasan HAK Timor Lorosae reported on 18 December that peaceful protest actions had been underway in the country since 14 December, led by the Solidarity Council for the Students and Youth of East Timor (DSMPTT).

In an open letter, the Solidarity Council announced a 'Strong Protest to the Indonesian Government' and waged peaceful protest actions against the illegal Indonesian military occupation and the massive attacks against the people in Alas sub-district, Manufahi and Cailoco sub-district, Bobonaro.

Starting on 14 December, the protest actions took the form of free-speech forums by students from many academic and educational institutions, which were held in front of thousands of people. There were speeches, poetry recitations, songs of struggle and motorcades through the streets of Dili. Many organisations became involved, including the CNRT, the Internal Political Front (FPI), the Academics Forum (Forca-Repetil), the youth organisation Ojetil, Fitun, Sagrada Familia a religious organisation, and OMT, the women's organisation, as well as clandestine groups.

On 16 December, all schools, colleges and other educational institutions were closed down while normal activities in the markets, restaurants and so on proceeded without interruption. Security forces were out in force on a high state of readiness. Troops were on guard outside the governor's office and the headquarters of Korem, the Military Resort Command 164/WiraDharma.

Speeches delivered at the free-speech forums focused on the social and political difficulties faced by the people. A comprehensive statement addressed to the Regional Administration made the following points:

1. Demanding to know why the joint mission sent to investigate the situation in Alas was not allowed to proceed. 2. Demanding that the safety of the population in Alas and Cailaco be safeguarded. 3. Demanding that Defence Minister/ABRI commander General Wiranto, President Habibie, Foreign Minister Ali Alatas, chairman of Parliament Harmoko and the chairman of the Supreme Court should come to East Timor. 4. Demanding the withdrawal of troops from Alas and Cailoco, and the withdrawal of troops from the whole territory of East Timor. 5. Demanding that the Indonesian government accept responsibility for the murder of 400,000 East Timorese since the military invasion in 1975. 6. Demanding the release of Xanana Gusmao and all East Timorese political prisoners. 7. Demanding that the Indonesian government enter into dialogue with the CNRT as the top organisation speaking for the people of East Timor. 8. Rejecting autonomy and a referendum (it does actually say this), and demanding complete independence for the people of East Timor.

The statement was delivered to the regional assembly with a request that the Solidarity Council meet with members of the regional executive.

As this request was ignored, the Solidarity Council set up command posts at all tertiary educational establishments, schools and outside the regional assembly, which were manned 24 hours of the day.

The huge crowds outside the assembly increased in size on 16 December. The Solidarity Council expressed its preparedness to go on with the peaceful actions until such time as top members of the executive make an appearance and enter into direct dialogue with the CNRT and the Solidarity Council.

[As we know, two days later the Solidarity Council waged a huge action at Comoro Airport as UN envoy, Jamsheed Marker was about to leave Dili, forcing the authorities to fly him out of the territory from an army helicopter base.]

TAPOL, the Indonesia Human Rights Campaign 111 Northwood Road, Thornton Heath, Surrey CR7 8HW, UK Phone: 0181 771-2904 Fax: 0181 653-0322 email: Campaigning to expose human rights violations in Indonesia, East Timor, West Papua and Aceh

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