Dili Unrest #6

I have heard from an acquaintance scheduled to fly out that the airport is now open again and the AirNorth flight from Darwin will arrive shortly (ie should have arrived and left by now). Another said the City Cafe is now open.

For the locals, much of the feedback has come back through local TV and radio. However, I am told that it is customary for the local media to be in holding pattern over the weekend, with very little new news coming on-stream until Monday, which as it is the Timorese Labour Day holiday on Monday, may mean Tuesday.

I understand that until today, the military and police were sympathetic to reaching a satisfactory solution with the protestors as the “sacked military” guys were once part of them. I also understand that this kid gloves approach is to cease today which may explain the retreat of trouble to the outskirts of Dili.

There is little doubt that “unemployed youth” took advantage of the whole situation and may well have contributed to the destruction of property. I have already heard enough from various quarters to suggest that there is also score settling with respect to the east/west divide thing.

It feels like things are loosening up around town. One can move freely but the continuing absence of mini-buses and open shops seems to indicate a continuing nervousness. I have also heard that there are a considerable number of people seeking refuge at the Don Bosco Centre (Salesian Brothers) in Comorro near the airport. The usual water supply and sanitation issues are a problem.

Although the Lita supermarket is closed, the CoolStore supermarket is open. Food supplies may be an issue for those who were not prepared for this sort of thing so this open supermarket is a good thing. I believe the Landmark supermarket is also open.

Sunset awaits.