Connect with ETAN
Like ETAN on Facebook Follow ETAN on Twitter ETAN on Google+ ETAN email listservs ETAN blog ETAN on LinkedIn ETAN on Pinterest ETAN on Instagram Donate to ETAN!

Subject: Becora prisoners stage demonstration
Date: Sun, 21 Jun 1998 00:54:01 -0700 (PDT)

Dili, 20 June 1998

On Saturday, 20 June, prisoners at Becora prison, Dili, demonstrated in front of the prison, demanding the release of Comandante Xanana Gusmao. During the demonstration which started at 10.00 am, the prisoners called for the release of all East Timor political prisoners, especially Comandante Xanana Gusmao.

The demonstrators broke through the prison door, walked out of the building with all their belongings and occupied the forecourt of the prison. The demonstrators stated that they were determined to leave the prison and were ready to face the consequences of their action. Dozens of banners were unfurled, demanding the right for the East Timorese for self determination, calling for a referendum in East Timor and for the release of all political prisoners. Several Fretilin and Falintil's standards were also unfurled.

This action was taken to press the Indonesian government to carry out its commitment to release all political prisoners.

At 10.30 am, Indonesian troops consisting of Mobile Brigade and other police units arrived in 15 trucks and 12 jeeps to dismiss the demonstrators and force them to return to the prison. The demonstrators refused to do so and insisted on leaving.

Hundreds of people near the prison were also shouting slogans in favour of independence.

After lengthy negotiations mediated by some Catholic priests, the prisoners agreed to return to the prison, on condition that the police personnel would leave the prison first.

However, they insisted that the banners and the flags should remain aloft in front of the prison.

After returning to the prison, the prisoners gathered for hours in the prison hall, and only entered their cells late in the evening.

TAPOL, Indonesia Human Rights Campaign, 111 Northwood Road, Thornton Heath, Surrey CR7 8HW, UK Phone: 0181 771-2904 Fax: 0181 653-0322 email: Defending the rights of the victims of Indonesian oppression in Indonesia, East Timor, West Papua and Aceh. ************************************************************