Hundreds of young Indonesians demonstrated outside the Australian embassy in the Indonesian capital, Djakarta, on Wednesday (17 December) in protest against Australia's support at the United Nations for an independent East Timor.
GV Demonstrators with banners and flags outside Australian embassy(4 shots)
SV Delegates representing students passing through gates
SV Mr. Richard Wilcox (Australian ambassador) entering room
SYNOPSIS: Hundreds of young Indonesians demonstrated outside the Australian embassy in Djakarta on Wednesday, protesting against Australia's support at the United Nations for an independent East Timor. Indonesian troops, described by Foreign Minister Adam Malik as "volunteers", entered the territory a fortnight ago after Fretelin -- the Revolutionary Front for an Independent East Timor -- unilaterally declared independence. Mr. Malik now says he's evidence that Australian sympathizers are supplying Fretelin with arms. Tony Joyce reports from Djakarta:
"It was carefully orchestrated demonstration, the protestors arriving in a fleet of small trucks with an armed police escort. The posters read "Friendship or enmity, Australia. Your actions are not friendly", "Quo vadis Australian-Indonesian friendship?", and the constant Djakarta theme: "Indonesia is not intervening in Timor." Demonstrations are banned in Indonesia, so it's safe to assume that the T.N.P.I. -- the government-sponsored National Committee of Indonesian Youth -- had the Suharto government's blessing for this semi-official protest. The commander of the Indonesian army guard told me that if he saw any real demonstrators, he'd put them in jail ... and that just about sums up the protest. Heavily-armed police were on hand but there were no violent incidents. A delegation of eleven, some looking rather mature for youth representatives were allowed through the locked embassy gates and made their protest personally to Australia's ambassador in Djakarta, Mr. Richard Wilcox."
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This film is serviced with English commentary by Australian Broadcasting Commission reporter Tony Joyce. A transcript follows overleaf.
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: Hundreds of young Indonesians demonstrated outside the Australian embassy in the Indonesian capital, Djakarta, on Wednesday (17 December) in protest against Australia's support at the United Nations for an independent East Timor.
Australia has proposed setting up a U.N. peacekeeping force in the territory and an end to inter-factional fighting while negotiations are begun to discuss the Portuguese colony's future.
Indonesian troops, described by Foreign Minister Adam Malik as "volunteers", invaded East Timor almost a fortnight ago, just seven days after the left-wing Revolutionary Front for an Independent East Timor (FRETELIN) had unilaterally declared independence.
The four pro-Indonesian political parties in East Timor -- Apodeti, the Timorese Democratic Union (UDT), Kota and Trabalista -- have jointly called on the United Nations to confirm the territory's integration with Indonesia, and on Thursday (18 December) set up a joint provisional government.
Thursday's demonstration was a rare event in Indonesia, where all such public protests are banned. The rally was organised by the government-sponsored National Committee of Indonesian Youth, eleven of whose leaders were permitted to enter the grounds of the Australian embassy to speak to the Australian ambassador, Mr. Richard Wilcox.
Many of the demonstrators carried banners and placards repeating the official Indonesian message that the country is not intervening in East Timor. Others questioned the validity of Australian-Indonesian friendship.
Two days later, the Indonesian Foreign Minister alleged that he had evidence that Australian sympathizers were sending arms to help Fretelin forces in East Timor.