Gusmao warns of Timor violence

East Timor's outgoing president has blamed the Fretilin party for violent clashes in the capital, Dili, ahead of key elections on Monday, the first since the country achieved independence.

Gusmao warns of Timor violence

East Timor's outgoing president has blamed the Fretilinparty for violent clashes in the capital, Dili, ahead ofkey elections on Monday, the first since the country achievedindependence.

At least30 people were injured in clashes earlier this week and Xanana Gusmao warned ofmore bloodshed if Fretilin's candidate loses his presidential bid.

 

In aninterview with Reuters he said there would be "a spiral ofviolence" if Fretilin's candidate, Francico Guterres, lost.

 

"Ibelieve if they feel they will win by violence, it will be their destructionbecause all Timorese don't like violence," he said. 

Rivalry

OnWednesday fierce clashes broke out in Dili as rival party supporters threwrocks at each other during the last day of official campaigning.

"Nowthe world can see that there's a party that instead of calling their supportersto calm down, they allow their supporters to provoke, to throw stones, to fightin the streets," Gusmao said.

Guterresis a frontrunner among eight presidential candidates but faces Jose Ramos-Horta,a high-profile candidate who was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize during thestruggle for independence from Indonesia.

Gusmao, acharismatic independence hero and ally of Ramos-Horta, is not running forre-election but has said he would run for prime minister in parliamentaryelections due this year.

AFretilin campaign official, Carmen da Cruz, denied that her party endorsedviolence.

"Fromthe beginning, Fretilin leaders have called for tolerance and patience... butmaybe because there were too many people what happened was beyond the controlof the party leaders," she told Reuters.

'Noplace for violence'

Japan, Portugal,New Zealand, the US and the European Union have called for calmin East Timor as the people head to the pollson Monday.

"There'sno place for violence or the use of other coercive means during voting or inresponse to election results," said a statement signed by the respectiverepresentatives.

TheFretilin Party led by Mari Alkatiri, the former prime minister, led East Timor's struggle against Indonesian rule and is thedominant party in parliament.

EastTimor was wracked by violence ahead of its independence in 2002 and 30 peoplewere killed in a clashes last year after the country descended into chaosagain whenr the government sacked 600 rebellious soldiers.

Theviolence drove about 100,000 people from their homes and prompted furtherintervention by foreign troops.

 

Güncelleme Tarihi: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16
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