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Subject: AFP: ETimorese hold solemn mass
Date: Thu, 12 Nov 1998 15:29:19 +1200
From: sonny inbaraj <ausasia@ozemail.com.au> Organization: The AustralAsian

East Timoreses hold solemn celebration of 1991 Dili Massacre

DILI, East Timor, Nov 12 (AFP) - East Timor Thursday marked the seventh anniversary of the Dili massacre with more than 5,000 people attending early mass and visiting the Santa Cruz cemetery here where the shooting took place.

People began flocking to the Balide Church here to attend an early morning service before marching to the cemetery some one kilometre (0.62 miles) away.

The city's streets were otherwise deserted and no Indonesian soldiers or police were noticeable.

At Santa Cruz, the crowd, that included weeping relatives of those who died in the shooting, laid wreaths while youths staged dramas reenacting themes related to the massacre.

Indonesian troops fired into a crowd of peaceful pro-independence demonstrators at the cemetary on November 12, 1991. Official tolls put the number of dead at around 50, the injured at 90 and those missing at around 60.

Independent tolls put the dead at more than 100.

The crowd were at the cemetery for the funeral of a youth killed in a brawl between anti and pro Indonesian youth groups.

On Thursday, several speakers addressed the crowd or read out messages, some from the Fretilin resistance movement which called on the Indonesian authorities and military to respect the rights of the East Timorese people to decide on their own future.

The Fretilin also called for the immediate pull out of all Indonesian troops from the troubled territory and the United Nations to pressure Indonesia to allow a quick settlement of the question of East Timor.

"The International Monetary Fund (IMF) should not disburse further aid to Indonesia as long as the question of East Timor is not settled," the Fretilin said in the statement.

The IMF has pledged a total of 46 billion dollars in bailout aid to help Indonesia face its current economic crisis. It has disbursed some seven billion dollars so far.

A message was read out, purportedly from jailed East Timorese rebel leader Xanana Gusmao. that called on the people to return to their homes after the ceremony.

The crowd disbanded after the cemetary ceremony.

Indonesian troops invaded the former Portuguese colony of East Timor in 1975 and declared it its newest province the following year although the move has not been recognized by the United Nations and most states.

A pro-independence movement has since provide armed resistance against the Indonesian presence there.

Peace talks on East Timor have been held under the auspices of the UN secretary general since 1983. Lisbon and Jakarta are now discussing an Indonesian proposal for wide-ranging autonomy for the territory.

The proposal was made by the government of President B.J. Habibie who took over from former president Suharto who had ordered the invasion of East Timor.

Many East Timorese, including those in exile and Gusmao, have called for a referedum for self determination and have only agreed to the autonomy as a temporary stage pending the referendum.

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