Candlelight march for political prisoners


Candlelight march for political prisoners

By Rohan Gaiswinkler

DARWIN — A rally, candlelight march through the city streets and an overnight vigil outside the Indonesian consulate took place here on June 19-20. The events, organised by the East Timor Indonesia Solidarity Group, demanded: "Free East Timor", "Democracy for Indonesia" and "Free the political prisoners: Xanana Gusmao, Dita Sari, Budiman Sujatmiko!".

More than 80 people gathered in Civic Park. Following music by Adlibido and Friends, Maria Bernadino spoke passionately about government indifference to the plight of East Timorese refugees in Australia and the lack of services and support for survivors of torture and human rights abuses.

Rob Wesley-Smith, from Australians for a Free East Timor, spoke about developments in East Timor and the campaign to free resistance leader Xanana. Larisa Freiverts, from the International Women's Day collective and Resistance, spoke about the political courage of jailed trade union leader, Dita Sari.

Peter Johnston, from the Democratic Socialist Party, spoke on the Indonesian elections and the campaign of the People's Democratic Party, the only political party in Indonesia with a policy of immediate military withdrawal from East Timor. Rob Hitchcock, vice-president of the NT Trades and Labour Council, spoke about the industrial boycott of Garuda airlines.

Ten activists held an all-night vigil, and at 8am the following day the gathering celebrated Xanana Gusmao's 53rd birthday.