04 November 2008

FRETILIN guarantees stability in Timor-Leste

FRETILIN Media Release 10 October 2008 FRETILIN guarantees stability in Timor-Leste; calls on all to do same for March of Peace

FRETILIN leaders yesterday reconfirmed that the proposed March of Peace will take place, and rebuked a government minister for alleging that the March would destabilize the young nation.

FRETILIN President Francisco Guterres Lu Olo said that it was the de facto Minister for Economy and Development who had to answer for his support for rebel soldier Alfredo Reinado In 2006, when political violence engulfed the capital.

FRETILIN has guaranteed that the proposed March of Peace will be peaceful and lawful, but is yet to determine when the March will go ahead, despite repeated rumors and clear attempts by some to whip up emotion on the issue.

Other parties like PPT and Kota, and ASDT who have withdrawn from the AMP government, will join the March of Peace.

On September 27, 2008, the Prime Minister, Mr Gusmao, said during a speech in Ainaro, "I hear from here that you are preparing a March of Peace to Dili. I will wait for you there and put you all in jail." FRETILIN has called this an attempt to intimidate people from exercising their constitutional and democratic rights, and shows his dictatorial tendencies yet again.

"FRETILIn is the political party that ushered in Timor-Leste's historic and successful struggle for national liberation and independence, and today is the largest political party. We will continue to make every effort to promote and maintain peace, stability and democracy in Timor-Leste and for the people of Timor-Leste, said Lu Olo yesterday.

"I myself spent 24 years in the mountains and rivers and valleys of Timor-Leste, fighting the invader in our country. We no longer have anyone to fight. I have a young family, I want this country to be peaceful and stable so that my children can grow up with peace and can gain an education to continue to realize the dream I carried during all the years in the struggle. I have read a media release from the de facto Minister for Economy and Development in the AMP. I have to say that I don't need someone who spent the whole struggle in the comfortable surrounds provided by Australia, and financial benefits just for being a Timorese in the diaspora, to lecture me on peace and conflict," he said.

Lu Olo was elected to the Constituent Assembly that drew up Timor-Leste's constitution in 2001, to which he was then elected as President. He then served as the President of the National Parliament between May 20, 2002 and August 7, 2007.

"It was people like the de facto Minister who supported criminals like Alfredo Reinado and those demonstrators who burnt the houses of FRETILIN supporters in 2006. They were the ones who stood clapping whilst the so-called army petitioners marched into Dili to demonstrate in April 2006, which then resulted in a violent end and triggered the suffering and mayhem that came from the violence.

"Just ask the displaced people, they can tell why they were forced from their homes. Ask the families of people still exhuming their sons why they were killed? It's because of the division of the nation by those whom the de facto Minister supported, Mr Alfredo and the petitioners. So, I ask, who needs to answer for the 2006 crisis? Who was it that had constant contact with Mr Reinado?" asked Lu Olo.

"FRETILIN will do everything to ensure that there will be no violence resulting from the proposed Peace March. That is precisely what it is, a Peace March. That is the intention and the goal: a reaffirmation of FRETILIN as a force for Peace, Democracy, the Rule of Law and Justice, all things people are thirsting for in this country.

"FRETILIN as a party has since 2001 held the largest demonstrations and rallies in Timor-Leste, involving hundreds of thousands of people without violence and respecting law and order and the rights of others. That's more than we can say for the demonstrations organized by people now in the de facto government and their allies in the National Parliament, including the
President of the Parliament himself, whose supporters brought down to Dili in May - August 2006 attacked FRETILIN supporters and even killed many," said Lu Olo.

"Despite having been the victims of the 2006 violence, organized and orchestrated to bring down the then FRETILIN Prime Minister Dr Alkatiri, FRETILIN and its supporters will never do to them what they did to us. We respect them as fellow Timorese and part of the human family. We have suffered too much from conflict to do that ourselves," Lu Olo stressed.

"We ask the National Police, the UN Police, the International Stabilisation Force, who have the role of maintaining law and order, to ensure that when the Peace March is held, it proceeds in peace and without attack from others who don't agree with it. We ask them to be remain totally independent and just follow the law, whatever attempts the government is currently engaged
in. We undertake to fully cooperate with PNTL and UNPOL.

"Let's close all avenues to some external to our party who want to open up for violence. There is no place for it. It is important that the March go ahead and that it is peaceful, for the sake of democracy in this country. If the largest party cannot demonstrate peacefully and lawfully, then what of the small parties and civil society? That will mean the end of democracy. We will not permit that to happen," Lu Olo concluded.

For information contact: Jose Teixeira MP on +670 728 7080 Or Nilva Guimaraes (media officer) on +670 734 0389

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