Dili Unrest #17

A friend emailed me and wondered why I had gone quiet. I know I may have appeared to go quiet but on the one hand, not a lot is happening out on the streets, but on the other, a lot more now “seems” to be happening at a number of discussion tables (or trees).

It has now firmly crossed over into a socio-political issue and I am loathe to add too much when I really don’t know much about all this.

I read one more in-depth analysis at :

The article concentrates on the head of the “petitioners” (or sacked soldiers) but the issues appear to have broadened and while he is a player, I am not sure Mr.Salsinha is the major player anymore. The people worry about the military losing control (of themselves), divisions in the police, unemployed youth trashing their house and general instability in the corridors of power at the Palacio do Governo.

There is talk of further protests initiated from the east following the death of an eastern (ie lorosae) policeman at Gleno. But these protest never eventuated here in Dili. I believe the potential protestors were warned that similar trouble may attach itself to their protest and effectively negate the real intentions.

The “refugees” (more correctly called “internally displaced persons” or ITDs) still occupy the Don Bosco Seminary (more than 5,000) and the Balide Convent. As the days pass by, these people are adding more of their worldly possessions to their patch, suggesting that they go home during the day and collect more of their stuff in preparation for the long haul. I have heard a number say that they will not move until the Prime Minister resigns.

A Fretilin leader was interviewed on the ABC “Connect Asia” program and thinks this will happen but not for a couple of weeks. A lot will depend on the success and eventual outcomes from the scheduled Fretilin national congress which was due to start on 17 May.