18 July 2012

Timor-Leste Army chief Lere: Rocks against rocks, not guns against rocks"

TVTL Nightly News 17 July 2012 - Government authorises the military to calm the situation - The head of the military, General Lere Anan Timur said that the government has given its authorisation to the military to calm the situation in its mission to reconcile and calm the young people's and the politicians emotions.

"Because of the situation currently taking pace in the country, in particular in Dili, the government has given authorisation to the military to act, to control the situation, and today I have immediately ordered the military police to descend on the field with this mission. So it is is clear what their mission is. One, they will reconcile and calm the emotions of our young people, and our politicians; two, in this mission, they will not use violence, and they will not bring their weapons. They will go unarmed, their security will inside their vehicles. They will get out unarmed to reconcile, to calm the tensions, to calm the emotions and to control the situation; three, they have been directed that when they come face to face with violence anywhere, they will return to their headquarters. They will not respond to violence with violence. They will return to their headquarters to await new orders from me, whether to act or not, I will be giving them the orders.

Therefore, I am asking my institution, the PNTL institution to respect our people and the our young people, respect all the institutions. From my part, I have given clear instructions to the military police that they need to respect the people so that the people can respect you. First, we need to find out how to transform the mentalities from bad to good, to transform into a good situation, not just with violence, but our people, our young people, that our words can bring some calm, because we know that our young people has just come out of a conflict and they are still weak; in their memory, in their brains, they have not forgotten about the violence. Perhaps in another 15 or 20, we can say that Timor can now have calm, be happy. But because at the moment we are a mixed bag. I have said before that, before this we were divided into two, autonomy and independence supporters. Now we are divided into thousands. We are mixing with each other, we don't know each other. That's what has caused this situation. But we say that we understand and we will resolve this problem. Therefore when the armed forces act, as I have said earlier, that they will not use violence. They will not fire a bullet when there is no death. If someone throws a rock, you will respond with a rock, now shoot him with a gun. But as I've also said earlier, if there is violence, they will return to their headquarters. If there is death as a result from a bullet, then you will have guns against guns. Not guns against rocks," Lere Anan Timur said.

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