East Timor situation calm for All Saints

Fears of unrest have eased in East Timor after the All Saints and All Souls feast days passed relatively uneventfully, Catholic Church leaders in Dili say.

Up to eight people were killed and injured 50 in clashes over the past two weeks that have also involved Australia's security forces.

There had been fears the two days of religious holidays might spark further unrest as locals gathered to remember their dead relatives, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.

"This situation has improved in these past days and the situation is normal as in the past years," Fr Manuel Fraile said after a service in Aimutin Catholic Church.

"We just hope that the this tradition and practices will also contribute to the feeling ... (that) people have the right to live in peace and to respect each other, and also for the sake of common respect for the death.

"Since two days ago the situation is better. In the evenings, I heard choppers roaming the area but since morning to 7 pm people have come out. I even see the children playing on the streets."

Another church leader, Fr Mounzinho Perreira Lopes of Balide Seminary, told his congregation they must live a good life.

"I told them that violence in the last few months, by destroying people, destroying houses, will not forgiven by saying "I want to repent,'" Fr Lopes said.

On Wednesday UN Police commissioner Antereo Lopes warned the religious holiday could be a potential flashpoint, as hundreds gathered to remember those who had died in violence in East Timor.


East Timor marks holidays in peace (Sydney Morning Herald, 2/11/06)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Caritas Australia

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3 Nov 2006