Dili peacekeepers holiday resort

During the week, the Fretilin party President, Francisco Guterres (more commonly known as Lu-Olo) suggested that foreign military and police were treating their mission here as a holiday by the sea.

Although I can understand that the continued gang violence in the face of the foreign security presence may be frustrating, perhaps a few things need clarification.

The foreign military forces are mainly Australian and New Zealand (and earlier, Malaysian).  These guys are on-duty 24×7 and carry arms at all times according to normal practice.  These guys are not permitted to eat or drink in local establishments, nor do I believe they have any down-time in TL itself.  So these guys are off the hook.

Initially, the police presence was an international contingent of OZ, NZ and Portuguese (perhaps Malaysian) but has now morphed into a UN Police force from numerous countries.  Initially, the police were not allowed out in their down-time but that has been relaxed now.  In the early days when the Portuguese military police were barracked in the Hotel Dili 2000, they were a common sight down at the Cristo Rei beaches.  When most expats had been evacuated, it was pretty obvious but it is a bit harder to detect now that there are a huge number of foreign aid workers here.

But you do get the impression that there are a lot of UN police vehicles moving around not actually doing much.  Someone told me that there are a number of UN police who are not actually police back in their home country.  And for the more professional officers from OZ and NZ, this is known to be a frustration.