Subject: report from Dili -- "beaucoup more dangerous"
Date: Sat, 27 Jun 1998 11:15:52 -0400
From: Charles Scheiner
An additional on-the-scene report from a foreign observer in Dili, June 27, 5 pm:
things just got beaucoup more dangerous today, for everyone.....
Pro-integration forces mobilized again to greet folks coming from the European parliament. When trucks with some of these folks, who were once again forced into coming by military, passed through the town of Manatutu the trucks were stoned. Unfortunately there were army in the rear vehicles and they opened fire and killed a couple of people and wounded others. Yesterday one person had been shot there as well.
Some of these integration folks - many of whom were Intel agents with radios under their shirts - gathered at the parliament where they were protected by army and police. Not that they needed much - Many of them had knives, swords, nunchuks, and other weapons. The police fired tear gas at pro-independence youths and the latter retreated and then edged closer again. Pro-independence folks gathered all over town and some attacked the governor's offices with stones. The army arrived and they fled.
Pro-integration folks ran into the Timorese market area and stabbed at least two people. I saw a pro-integrasi person bleeding from a stabbing being taken away in a police ambulance - which pro- independence folks stopped momentarily.
Meanwhile a female journalist was beaten up wandering in an area known for being an Intel stronghold. A Japanese photographer was taken into custody by Intel folks and told that the Indonesian military was going to arrest him tonight.
About an hour or two ago people brought the body of one of those pro- independence killed in Manatutu to the governor's building, there was a tussle with police (all in very special riot gear and automatic weapons, and the police.
[interrupted, the rest is from a second communication]
I am now staying inside. It is 6pm and things got very scary. Even when you are in a large crowd, you don't know if Intel agents are watching you. There were tens of thousands in the streets a short while ago and I don't know what is going on. I am taking necessary preparations if I am to leave suddenly. It is possible that I will be questioned by the army, although I am just a tourist/student of SE Asia, who wants to see things for himself.
The pro-integrationist forces seemed to want to do two things: show the world there are two sides and provoke conflict that justifies a new military crackdown. It is possible they will achieve the latter. The military are working together with them, everyone knows this and you can see it in any of the physical clashes that occur. I saw with my own eyes a top military officer meeting in a back alley with pro- integrasi supporters who were armed with knives and iron bars. I was led there by mistake and it was very scary. One of us was punched in the face but he was able to get away with the others when he told them that he supported integration. He is OK, just a sore jaw.