Subject: ETGOV: East Timor Situation Update

1*Update 2*Government statement 3*Prime Minister's address 4*President's address

1. DILI UPDATE

Dili has heeded the new nations leaders calls for calm, following violent protests which have left one person dead, at least five police officers injured and a few highly visible locations in Dili damaged.

Police have confirmed that one person has died, but as the protestors will not give up the body, the cause of death remains unclear. Police have speculated that rocks being thrown by the protestors may have fatally wounded the deceased.

Student demonstrators from November 28 Secondary School and the University of Timor-Leste started the protests this morning around 0930 hours. Their aim was to present a statement to the parliament protesting the arrest of a student the previous day.

H.E. President Mr Xanana Gusmão and H.E. Prime Minister Dr Mari Alkatiri met with University student leaders and the Director of November 28 Secondary school, who told them that they had been protesting peacefully when a second group joined them and started to throw stones. The University student leaders said anyone with their group then left.

Protestors entered the parliament, damaging parliamentary assets and assaulting one Member of Parliament. In the same street “Hello Mister” supermarket and the Hotel Loro Sa’e (formally the Resende Hotel) were also damaged. Some shops in the Colmera district were luted and the Prime Minister's house has been burned.

There is no state of emergency. The Prime Minister has not fled Dili. National and International security forces are patrolling the streets to uphold peace and public order.

-ends-

For further information please contact:

Ms Caroline O’Brien Public Affairs Advisor Division of Public Affairs Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation Mobile: +61 (0) 417 879 953 Email: contact_carolineo@hotmail.com

2. GOVERNMENT STATEMENT

The first Constitutional Government of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste consider that events that are taking place in Dili are grave. The first Constituioanl Government of Timor-Leste appeals to the whole population of Dili not to move or circulate in the city, and stay at home.

The Dili city is being patrolled by the national and international security forces in order to restore public order and security.

3. PRIME MINISTER'S ADDRESS

My fellow citizens,

Today's events mark a very sad note during our country's first days of independence. In due course, we will strive to understand the root causes of such events, and take measures to address these causes.

For now, the immediate priority is the restoration of peace and order, a peace which the Timorese people have earned through many years of suffering. Violence and chaos such as today harms all of us, and all the people of Timor-Leste deserve to live in peace.

The Government of Timor-Leste stands united and will use all its concerted effort to remedy the situation and ensure a lasting order and calm for our dear country. I have been in continuous consultation today with the President and the UNMISET SRSG, and, in close cooperation, we are all committed to stopping such violence and banishing it from this country.

Both I and the SRSG have visited the parliament where the first incidents occurred this morning, and we have met with the members of parliament, who are equally shocked at this outburst.

I urge all of you to refrain from actions which harm all the people of Timor-Leste, such as vandalism and looting goods. This is not a basis on which to build the society for which we struggled for 24 years.

On behalf of the Government of Timor-Leste, I offer you my commitment that we will overcome such challenges to our country and that such days of unrest will be put behind us.

(Signature withheld for electronic distribution) Mari Alkatiri Prime Minister

4. PRESIDENT'S ADDRESS

The following address was made in Tetum and Portuguese, this is a translation:

The incident between students and police at November 28 High School was the result of police trying to apprehend a student who had threatened to kill someone.

If the school wants to defend these people, people that hold a knife to kill someone, and protest about the way the police went about this, then they can protest this, but they cannot protest the law. No one is above the law, not me, not anyone. Without the law people could kill each other, it would be chaos.

I feel such depression, such sadness, because today I saw many people point their fingers at the police and say that the police are Militia, but in the end, these people that are pointing fingers at the police, are burning people’s houses and stealing people’s possessions, how can they do this?!

We can raise our voices, have heated discussions, but fighting, violence and destruction is unacceptable.

I see the young people’s paintings of democracy on the walls of the Dili football stadium. They write that: “Democracy respects people rights, peoples belongings, democracy means we can shout out our opinions”.

We just received our independence on May 20.

There are people are behind all of these things, some people are supporting these disturbances and destruction, but we don’t know who they are.

I want to ask, that the parents of students, teach their children not to follow people that behave like militia, this is not the way! I meet parents every week in my office who come to me and say, we don’t have money to educate our children. What a waste it is to pay for their education if all they do is follow others and act like the militia!

I want to ask the population to remain calm. I want to ask the protesting students to be calm, maybe they should take two days holidays to study and prepare for their examinations.

I ask the University to be calm and to ask why they want to follow others that act like this.

We need to be calm now, so that we can find out what the problems are, and start looking for solutions.

If you burn people’s houses and steal their possessions they will leave Timor-Leste. If they will leave what is going to happen to us? We will be alone with our poverty, without help, forgotten.


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