INTRODUCTION: In Australia, supporters of the left-wing Fretelin movement in East Timor are risking arrest by maintaining contact with the guerrilla forces in the former Portuguese colony -- since taken over by Indonesia.
(MUTE) SV EXTERIOR Group of Australian supporters of East Timor Fretelin movement walking through bush - Darvin, Australia
SV Team setting up radio for clandestine contact (3 shots)
SV Journalist speaking to Fretelin supporter
SVs Men sitting over radio set and listening to Fretelin commander (4 shots)
SVs Men listening and conversation continuing (5 shots)
REPORTER: IAN McMINN
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: INTRODUCTION: In Australia, supporters of the left-wing Fretelin movement in East Timor are risking arrest by maintaining contact with the guerrilla forces in the former Portuguese colony -- since taken over by Indonesia. In defiance of government policy, the group is operating a clandestine radio from the Darwin area.
SYNOPSIS: The supporters play a cat-and-mouse game with police when they set up the radio in the swamps around Australia's northernmost town. They say the Indonesian take-over of the island is illegal and intend continuing their work until Indonesia moves out.
A Sydney television journalist was allowed to film the Darwin group contacting Fretelin in one of its broadcasts.
He and the group's leader talked with a Fretelin commander on the continuing struggle against Indonesian rule. The guerrilla leader confirmed that they would continue their fight, and said the Indonesian troops had committed atrocities in which thousands of Timorese people had been slaughtered.
Fretelin originally took control of Timor last year after a short, bloody, conflict with a right-wing movement. But Indonesia then took over and forced the Fretelin troops into the hills where they have since kept up a guerrilla offensive.
The Australian supporters say they're prepared to risk arrest for breaching the country's wireless and telegraph laws because, they say, their fellow-countrymen should be aware of the events in Timor. Indonesia, however, says there have been significant improvements in the standard of living since they took over 10 months ago.