Associated Press

March 23, 1997

East Timorese clash with police, two killed DILI, Indonesia (AP) - Indonesian security forces clashed Sunday with East Timorese activists trying to see a U.N. envoy, killing two people and injuring 38, a security official said.

The two were killed when police fired warning shots to disperse more than 200 East Timorese trying to see U.N. envoy Jamsheed Marker at a hotel in Dili, capital of the former Portuguese colony, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Indonesia annexed East Timor in 1976, and since has fought a simmering independence movement there. Its troops frequently are accused of human rights abuses.

Col. Yusuf Mucharam, the local police chief, refused to confirm the deaths, but said 48 demonstrators were picked up for interrogation.

He said the demonstrators, waving anti-Indonesia posters and banners, broke into the lobby after the envoy failed to meet them at the Mahkota Hotel.

About 100 police and soldiers dispersed the demonstrators, who fled into the streets. Dozens of churchgoers fled when police chased some of the demonstrators who tried to hide near a church. Police fired three warning shots into the air.

Marker, who arrived Saturday in Dili, met with Nobel Peace laureate Bishop Carlos Belo, East Timor Gov. Abilio Soares and other officials. After refusing to meet the demonstrators, he left by helicopter for another district in East Timor.

Indonesian troops invaded East Timor in 1975 amid a civil war as Portugal abandoned the territory after four centuries of colonial rule. The United Nations still recognizes Portugal as the territory's administering power.