Subject: AFP: Timorese picket US embassy in Jakarta in call for intervention
Date: Sat, 17 Apr 1999 08:46:23 -0400
From: "John M. Miller" <fbp@igc.apc.org>

Received from Joyo:

East Timorese picket US embassy in Jakarta in call for intervention

JAKARTA, April 14 (AFP) - A group of 50 East Timorese youths Wednesday picketed the US embassy here to demand Washington's involvement in a peaceful settlement for the troubled former Portuguese colony.

"America should be actively involved in settling the problem of Timor Leste (East Timor)," one of the posters carried by the youths, who said they belonged to the pro-independence East Timorese umbrella group, the National Resistance Council of Timor (CNRT.)

The group also conveyed a letter to US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright through embassy political officer Edmund McWilliams, which urged the US government to devote its attention to the problem.

"We the East Timorese youth come before you to remind your excellency and your government to pay a bit of your sense of humanity to our beloved people who are facing endless tragedy perpetuated by Indonesian military and its armed militias," the letter said.

"We call upon the government of the United States of America and its allies to (devote their) attention and reaction to the fate of the East Timorese people who are massacred by invaders' army."

They also displayed large photographs of East Timorese refugees killed and wounded in an attack on a churchyard in the town of Liquisa by pro-Indonesian militia last week.

"Live or die, we want independence," said another poster waved by the protesters.

Four policemen hovered nearby but did not try to break up the group, which then marched towards the headquarters of the National Commisssion of Human Rights, singing patriotic Timorese songs.

East Timor has been rocked by increasing violence between pro-independence and pro-Indonesian camps following Jakarta's announcement in January that it may grant independence to the former Portuguese colony it invaded in 1975 and annexed the following year, if the population there rejects a UN-sponsored autonomy package.

Jailed East Timorese rebel leader Xanana Gusmao and Portugal's envoy to Jakarta, Ana Gomes, last week called for an international presence in East Timor to halt the violence and disarm the civilian population.

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