East Timor campaign picks up pace

March 15, 1995

East Timor campaign picks up pace

By Nick Fredman

SYDNEY — The campaign in solidarity with East Timor continued this week with a public meeting and a lively picket against the presence of Indonesian troops in Australia.

A meeting organised by the Democratic Socialist Party, entitled "East Timor 1995: a turning point?", at the Resistance Centre on March 7, attracted more than 70 people. Speakers were Harold Moucho, NSW coordinator of Fretilin, Agio Pereira from the East Timor Relief Association, Amy Philips from Resistance and Max Lane from Aksi, Indonesia Solidarity Action.

Discussion centred on recent repression in East Timor from the so-called "ninja gangs", and increasing solidarity with East Timor in Indonesia and throughout the region as shown by the formation of the Asia Pacific Coalition for East Timor. Coming events such as the UN-sponsored talks and the Resistance May 13 National Day of Action in solidarity were also discussed.

Thirty Indonesian troops were in Sydney briefly on their way to military exercises in Queensland. The troops are from the elite Special Reserve Force or KOSTRAD, a unit which has played a murderous and repressive role in the invasion and occupation of East Timor.

Twenty-five people attended a quickly organised lunchtime picket on March 10 outside the Defence Department Building, which was supported by the Australia East Timor Association, Aksi, Resistance and the DSP.

The demonstrators, who distributed hundreds of leaflets, collected more than 100 signatures on a petition and attracted a lot of media coverage as they demanded an end to military ties with Indonesia, an end to oil exploration in the Timor Gap and recognition of East Timorese resistance organisations.

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