16 July 2012

Timorese police contain violence: UN

East Timor Legal News 16/07/2012 Source: Australia Network News July 16, 2012 16:03:36 - A spokeswoman for the United Nation's mission in East Timor says outbreaks of violence at the weekend have demonstrated the strength of the country's institutions.

Sandra McGuire, a spokeswoman for the UN's mission in East Timor, told Radio Australia's Connect Asia program that East Timorese police handled the situation well.

Dozens of cars were torched in Dili over the weekend and there have been other incidents of stone throwing in the capital and outlying regions.

But Ms McGuire says the situation has returned to normal.

"There were sporadic outbreaks of unrest in Dili last night and a few outside Dili in the districts," she said.

"But this morning it is calm and if you were here you would see the children on their way to school, it looks normal.

"One of the interesting things is that the unrest was handled by the national police and handled well."

Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao announced at the weekend that he will be forming a coalition government with two minor parties but excluding the main opposition party Fretilin.

There has been speculation the violence was sparked by Fretilin supporters but Ms McGuire says the motivations of the perpetrators is not yet known.

"I don't think any of the nation's leaders want to have violence at all, and we have not established who the perpetrators were and what was motivating them," she said.

Should the situation in East Timor remain stable, the UN will withdraw from the country within the next six months.

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