Demonstration at opening of consulate

Issue 

Demonstration at opening of consulate

By Bernie Brian

DARWIN — Members of Darwin's East Timor Independence Support Group organised a peaceful but angry picket on June 25 to protest at the opening of an Indonesian consulate in the city.

During the picket one protester had his bag confiscated, and the entire proceedings were photographed and filmed by both police and consulate staff. Protest organisers could not get a confirmation or denial from police of a sighting of a police marksman on an adjacent office block. Attempts to photograph this police officer as he departed via a waiting fire engine ladder were blocked by police.

This increased level of intimidation of the East Timorese and their supporters here corresponds with attempts by the territory government to increase trade with Indonesia. At the time, Darwin was also host to a 400-strong Indonesian trade delegation.

Jose Gusmao, cousin of jailed East Timorese independence leader Xanana Gusmao, told Green Left that such activities were designed to "intimidate us and our families back home. My own brother was poisoned by Indonesian intelligence because I have always spoken out about the continuous violation of human rights in East Timor. All we want is a peaceful solution to the conflict in East Timor according to the UN resolution, which includes holding a referendum to give the East Timorese a say in their future."