Subject: UNMISET Daily Media Review 21 April 2005

[Poster's note: Long repeats of international articles already sent out to the east-timor list have been removed.]

UNMISET Daily Press Review

Compiled by the Public Information Office from national and international sources

Daily Media Review Thursday, 21 April 2005

TL protestors demand religion in schools

Prime Minister on demonstration

The Office of the Prime Minister released a statement to the press late yesterday, whereby Mari Alkatiri has congratulated the national police force and demonstrators on their efforts in making the demonstration as peaceful as possible. The statement states that the Prime Minister applauds the fact that no incidents occurred between the demonstrators and the police and congratulates all those who participated in this demonstration for having manifested great democratic maturity.

The Prime Minister said that the peaceful climate that characterises the demonstration helps to nurture the dialogue channels between the Government and Catholic Church. Mr Alkatiri added that he is open to constructive dialogue with the Catholic Church. (Press statement from the Office of the Prime Minister)

Lobato calls on priests to hang up cassocks and threatens protestors with use of force

The Minister of Interior, Rogerio Lobato, has called for the priests involved in the demonstration to hang up their cassocks if they desire to become involved in politics. Lobato, responding to calls for the Prime Minister to resign, criticized the demonstration, saying that the original cause for the demonstration had only been used as a cover for other political aims. In a statement issued yesterday, Fretilin said that it does not accept the political nature of the demonstration as well as the use of religious icons during the demonstration.

Both the Interior Minister and Speaker of Parliament, Fransicso Guterres, also blasted the church-organized demonstration as subversion aimed to topple the government and threatened to use force. "We have information that they are preparing an assault on the government palace and have plans to paralyse Dili," said Lobato. The Minister also added that police would "resort to legitimate use of force" if demonstrators tried to occupy government buildings.

Meanwhile, in a press release yesterday, the Bishop of Dili Diocese, Alberto Ricardo, said that the demonstration was never only about religion, but also about other issues of concern to the people, such as justice for crimes against humanity, food security, health, education, poverty, corruption, press freedom and freedom of speech. (Timor Post, Lusa)

Malaysia and Timor-Leste co-operate in customs and excise

Malaysia and Timor-Leste are set to establish bilateral ties in area of customs and excise, with the aim of improving the quality of customs services in Timor-Leste. At a press conference yesterday, the Deputy Director General of Malaysian Customs, Datuk Abdul Rashid Bolong, said that the focus of this new agreement would be on capacity building, logistics, and a review of legal regulations. (STL)

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