KASAMA Vol. 13 No. 3 / July-August-September 1999 / Solidarity Philippines Australia Network

c/- PCISP,
70-1 Matahimik St.,
Teacher's Village,
Quezon City,
Tel: 435 4584 / Fax: 435 4533

10 Sept 99

Dear Friends:

This afternoon, Filipino solidarity activists and human rights workers, members of religious communities and Indonesian students together with the East Timorese in the Philippines picketed the Indonesian embassy to condemn the on-going violence and systematic killings in East Timor. The group demanded that Indonesian troops be pulled out immediately from East Timor, that militias be disbanded, and that an international peacekeeping force be deployed immediately.

The Timorese called on Indonesia to respect the will of their people and respect the results of the referendum for an overwhelming vote for independence.

The religious communities of Timorese, Indonesians and Filipinos likewise joined the chorus in demanding that Indonesia MUST leave East Timor in order to stop the violence. The rallyists called on the people to continue exerting pressure on Indonesia and the international community in order to save East Timor from total annihilation.

An Indonesian student from Solidarity for Indonesian Democracy (SOLID) composed and recited a poem lamenting on the current plight of the East Timorese and the gory horrors in East Timor perpetrated by Indonesian military.

The highlight of the activity was the symbolic flag raising ceremony where the Timorese brought down the Indonesian flag from the pole and replaced it with the flag of the republic of East Timor, the same flag hoisted during its independence declaration on November 28, 1975, nine days before Indonesian invasion. The CNRT flag, the symbol for East Timor's independence during the UN-supervised referendum was also hoisted. The Timorese sang their Timor Lorosae song of freedom as they hoisted their flags. Afterwards, they danced around the flagpole, in solidarity embrace.

The dark clouds above, the downpour and occasional outbursts of lightning and thunder added to the charged atmosphere. And the people stayed on until the last chantings and prayers were said for the day.

In attendance were members of human rights organizations under the Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA), Amnesty International-Pilipinas, Indonesian students and religious from Solidarity for Indonesian Democracy (SOLID), priests and nuns from the Salesian, Canossian and Jesuit religious orders, the doctors and nurses and solidarity activists who just came back from East Timor and had been personal witnesses to the tragedy of the Timorese people and members of the East Timorese community in the Philippines.

Earlier, trade union workers and student activists held a picket organized by KMU (May First Movement) and League of Filipino Students (LFS).

Aluta continua, Ellene Sana, PHILSETI-APCET