Subject: AP: Eurico against East Timor calls for nationalism

Militia leader against East Timor calls for nationalism AP 29oct03

A FORMER militia leader, who was sentenced to 10 years for his role in the 1999 East Timor violence, unfurled a giant Indonesian flag yesterday and called on the country to "rekindle" its nationalist spirit.

Eurico Guterres unveiled the 1000m by 6m red-and-white flag in Kupang, an Indonesian town close to the border with East Timor.

"Hopefully, this giant flag can rekindle the spirit of nationalism that united Indonesia on October 28, 1928," said Guterres, referring to the date of a historic independence pledge by Indonesian youth, remembered as a key step in the country's path to freedom from Dutch colonial rule.

Guterres was the leader of a feared militia in East Timor's capital Dili that went on the rampage when the territory's voters opted overwhelmingly for independence in a UN referendum in 1999.

Last year, an Indonesian court sentenced him to 10 years in jail for his role in the campaign of killing, burning and looting that left 1,000 people dead.

Guterres, who is an Indonesian citizen, remains free on appeal.

After his speech, about 2,000 high school students paraded with the flag down the main street of Kupang, about 1,000 kms southeast of Jakarta.

Officials from Indonesia's record museum pronounced the flag the largest ever created in the country.


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