|Subject: SMH: E. Timorese protesters storm Canberra
Date: Sat, 01 May 1999 08:46:53 -0400
From: "John M. Miller" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Received from Joyo Indonesian News:
Sydney Morning Herald 28/04/99
Protesters storm Canberra talks
By MARK METHERELL in Canberra
About 50 Timorese protesters, angered by the presence of a pro-Indonesian leader at a conference in Canberra yesterday, chanted "terrorist, murderer" after trying to storm the venue.
A 33-year-old Sydney man was arrested and charged with throwing a missile, thought to be a candle.
Three windows of Old Canberra House, at the Australian National University, were broken.
The demonstrators objected to the presence of Mr Basilio Araujo, a senior public servant in Dili associated with the pro-integrationist militias on East Timor, at talks aimed at seeking solutions to hostilities in the province.
The conference, attended by 35 people from East Timor, Jakarta and elsewhere, was meant to have been a low-key affair, closed to the public, and aimed at encouraging dialogue.
A Timorese protester from Melbourne, Mr Cancio Noronha, stood among placards portraying victims of the slaughter on East Timor and said it was inconceivable that the Australian National University should invite Mr Basilio, whom he said had publicly advocated violence and murder. Support for Mr Basilio's attendance came from an unexpected quarter. The secretary of the Fretilin Standing Political Commission, Mr Mauhodu, a staunch opponent of Mr Basilio, said: "I think the presence of Basilio here is not a great problem. He is not the real enemy of the East Timorese. The real enemy of the East Timorese is the military that didn't want democracy, didn't want peace and justice for East Timorese."
Mr Mauhodu, who fought for Fretilin against the Indonesian military in the mountains of East Timor for 17 years and was imprisoned by the Indonesian authorities, called his own press conference to plead for a peacekeeping force as a crucial step towards stability and democracy in the province.
He said he hoped the Prime Minister, Mr Howard, would convince Indonesia's President, Dr B.J. Habibie, to disarm the militias and support a peacekeeping force to end the terrorism and bloodshed. If there were a United Nations peacekeeping force, Fretilin would be ready to disarm.
Mr Mauhodu recalled attending East Timor Peace Association meetings with Mr Basilio and argued that it was only after the rival independence and integrationist supporters appeared close to accord that the army incited bloodshed.
The conference organiser, Dr Roland Rich, the director of the Australian National University's Centre for Democratic Institutions, defended the presence of Mr Basilio, who had been invited some time ago by East Timorese participants.
"I know there are political enemies in the room but they are prepared to talk to each other," he said. The meeting was an example of "second track diplomacy", where individuals, not negotiators, sought to find common ground.