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Recent Dili rioting condemned as political

Rioting in East Timor's capital was guided by unseen people with political motives, according to Fr Antonio da Costa, vicar general of Dili diocese.

"I don't believe the students are the only actors," he said. "They did start it, but in the course, more people who were not students also took part."

Protests by students against police, sparked by the arrest of a student, escalated into widespread rioting earlier this month.

A statement issued on 7 December by representatives of 17 civic organisations expressed "shock" at the rioting and arson. It noted that there were provocateurs generally aged 20-30 who incited the mob, directed people to destroy certain targets and supplied petrol.

UCA News

East Timor's Muslim PM touched by Bishop Belo's post-riot visit (12/12/02)
Belo apologises to East Timor Muslims after rioting (9/12/02)
East Timor calm after riots (BBC 5/12/02)

16 Dec 2002