Subject: AP: East Timor students protest school fee hike, rising prices

Also - Leaders appeal to restive students for 'constructive' debate, action

AP World Politics

East Timor students protest school fee hike, rising prices Tue Aug 6, 3:13 AM ET

DILI, East Timor - Students clashed with police Tuesday in East Timor over plans to increase fees at the new country's main university.

About 300 students gathered outside the government building in the capital following news that annual fees at East Timor National University would jump from dlrs 15 to dlrs 100.

The demonstration turned violent, when protesters started throwing rocks and plastic bottles at local and international police officers guarding the building.

No one was hurt or arrested, students said. Police could not be reached for comment.

"We are having these problems because of the government's poor policies," said Sebastiao Markues Soares, a university student. "My parents can't afford to pay my fees. They don't have a job."

The protest was the second in two days by students upset over rising prices and unemployment in the newly independent country.

East Timor is Asia's poorest nation and its independence from on May 20 was greeted by questions of how it would survive without the continued assistance of foreign donors.

Since then, many businesses in Dili have suffered as the U.N. transitional administration scaled back its presence on the half-island state.

Hikes in prices of fuel and basic foodstuffs such as rice and vegetables are also expected.

08-08-2002 13:38:00. Notícia nº 3982833

East Timor: Leaders appeal to restive students for 'constructive' debate, action

President Xanana Gusmao and Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri urged East Timor's students Thursday to aid the new nation's reconstruction and development through "mature" and "constructive" debate and political participation.

The appeals, made at a national student seminar at Dili's university, came two days after hundreds of students demonstrated in the capital, some clashing with police, against planned tuition hikes.

SAS/ASP -Lusa-

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