Published on 29th April 2015 by

The Bullet and The Ballot (1999): Just before the 1999 general referendum, sectarian violence is growing in Indonesia, but with it too comes a sense of jubilation for some.

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A crowd of curious children cheer as a UN helicopter lands, moments later they are running and screaming as one of Timor’s many pro-Indonesia militia’s storm the UN’s Maliana base. Attacks like this have generated thousands of refugees. Aid workers are predicting disaster… “People haven’t been able to plant their crops…the next harvest just won’t be there.” But independence supporters’ enthusiasm is still strong. At Sual cathedral, 1800 refugees defy militia terror and march for independence. “August 30th is a beautiful day for us because we want freedom!” But at a militia rally they are also optimistic of victory. Militia chief Joao Tavares tells us to expect violence. “It will happen because the Timorese will not accept losing.”

ABC Australia – Ref 629

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