Subject: ABC: East Timor opposition leader defends 'peace march'
ABC Radio Australia
East Timor opposition leader defends 'peace march'
Updated October 23, 2008 22:16:16
East Timor's opposition leader has rejected government accusations that the Fretilin party is stoking security tensions by planning a mass demonstration.
Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao says the government will not hesitate to arrest violent demonstrators.
Mari Alkatiri has told Radio Australia it is Fretilin's democratic right to hold its so-called 'peace march', just as it is the government's right to arrest violent people.
He says the government was trying to blame others for its own mistakes.
"They've been trying to solve problems by using only money, but not to solve the political problems through political means, that they've failed," he said.
"The government has failed at all levels, and they're trying to blame others for their own mistakes."
Fretilin has not named a date for its mass demonstration.
Violence between eastern and western factions in East Timor flared in May 2006, killing 37 people and displacing 150,000 East Timorese.
Fretilin's leader Mari Alkatiri also told Radio Australia that his party was not behind an anonymous pamphlet circulating in Dili, threatening more violence, if a person from the island's east is named the new commander of the police force.
"Fretilin has nothing to do with this kind of issue," he said.
"Xanana has to be blamed for this kind of 'east and west' in Timor Leste. He was the one in 2006 to divide the country into east and west, Xanana himself."
The Australian Defence Force announced on Wednesday that it is withdrawing about 100 troops from East Timor by early next year.