Subject: RT: Megawati Runs Into Silent Protest in E.Timor

Megawati runs into silent protest in East Timor

DILI, East Timor, May 20 (Reuters) - Indonesian President Megawati Sukarnoputri was greeted by 50 silent protesters shortly after she arrived in East Timor late on Sunday to attend independence events for a territory Jakarta once ruled with an iron fist.

The protesters, their mouths taped shut, stood near a cemetery for Indonesian soldiers killed in fighting with guerrillas in East Timor during Jakarta's 1975-1999 occupation of the territory.

Security was tight and there were no incidents at the cemetery, just before the post-midnight (1500 GMT) official declaration of East Timor's independence.

Megawati's fleeting attendance had already attracted controversy, with Indonesia's dispatch of six naval vessels to the area irritating East Timor. It called the move an "ostentatious" display of military might.

But despite the protest and the problems, when Megawati later took her place on the stage with other foreign leaders at the venue for independence events at a field on the outskirts of Dili, she was greeted by shouts of "Mega", her nickname, from some in the crowd.

She had also been met at Dili's airport by East Timor's new president Xanana Gusmao.

Indonesia had tried to play down the flap over the ships, saying it had permission from the U.N. administration to send them and that in any case only two ever entered East Timor's waters.


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