Dili Recovering #1

For a few days, it appeared that something “might” happen, but didn’t. All sorts of scenarios were possible but it seems that behind the scenes is where all the action is now.

Everyone in town seems to know this one now so I may as well run it through here. On Monday, a senior government official was returning to a government office in Gleno, about 30kms from Dili. He was accompanied by about 10 police, including a relatively senior officer. The officers comprised some from the east (lorosae) and some from the west (loromonu). At some point, the senior officer instructed the lorosae police to got to a room and disarm. They were then instructed to leave the room.

A mob outside attacked the lorosae police group while (it is said) the loromonu police stood by (armed) and did nothing. A catholic priest intervened and managed to dampen things a bit but not before one policeman was fatally wounded with a knife.

I understand the policeman’s body was returned to his home region (Venilale/Vemasse) of Manatuto and the locals (lorosae) were pretty upset and were initially determined to travel to Dili to protest. It was said the protest would commence in Manatuto. But I believe they were convinced that other groups might join in and cause trouble and effectively negate the aims of the protest.

On the streets, it has been pretty quiet. There has been a slow return of street vendors and a steady increase in the number of shops open.

With the Fretilin party conference due to start on the 17th of May, there appears to be a fair bit of political jockeying for position going on. TL’s ambassador to the UN has returned and announced himself as a potential Prime Ministerial candidate. It appears the Foreign Minister Jose Ramos Horta has become extremely active in the media.

But whatever comes of it, we may well know a bit more by the end of this week.

Note : Minor factual correction made 15 May re. hometown of deceased policeman.

3 thoughts on “Dili Recovering #1

  1. Hi,

    Manatuto is considered as belonging to Loromonu, at least since one of the first presidential addresses following the dismissal of the soldiers.

    Anyways, this is a great BLOG to be get updates on current situations in Dili and Timor-Leste….

    Many thanks.


  2. Sorry, I have amended the original entry which probably makes more sense now.

    I really do try not to publish rumours (ie past events) or speculate too much (ie future events). I try to keep up with the foreign English-speaking press take on things and add some local bits. The impression given at times by the foreign press is often not quite what it is like on the ground.

    I am looking forward to the TV movie “Answered by Fire” coming up soon 🙂

  3. Folks wanting to keep up with English language news on East Timor may want to subscribe to the east-timor listserv. This e-mail list has been running for over 15 years and focuses on distributing news items from a wide range of sources, including East Timorese and international support groups. Reports and translations from wire services and the East Timorese, Indonesian, Portuguese, Australian, British, and U.S. press also regularly appear there, along with official documents and statements from the U.N., national governments, and other sources. (East-timor began as a list server echo of a conference (newsgroup) called reg.easttimor and is sometimes known by that name.) To find out more send a blank e-mail to [email protected] or go to http://etan.org/resource/etlist.htm. Thanks.

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