Massive Protest in Dili


Today there has been a massive protest in Dili outside the Australian Embassy. Many thousands were present.

Australian media have reported the events here:

Thousands of East Timorese besiege Australian embassy in Dili [Sydney Morning Herald]

Australia illegally occupying maritime territory of Timor-Leste, protesters say [The Guardian]

Federal Labor reaffirms promise to mend relations with East Timor [SBS News]

The organizers issued the following statement:

Movimentu Kontra Okupasaun Tasi Timor

Movement Against the Occupation of the Timor Sea

Rua dos Martires da Patria, Bebora, Dili, Timor-Leste

Tel: +670-7734-8703 email:

Dili, 22 March 2016

Declaration to the Government of Australia

The Movement Against the Occupation of the Timor Sea (Movimentu Kontra Okupasaun Tasi Timor - MKOTT) is a social movement composed of activists, students, former resistance fighters and individuals which advocates for legal, judicial and diplomatic processes between the Australian and Timor-Leste governments to find a fair solution to the maritime boundary between these two nations.

MKOTT sees that Timor-Leste is the closest neighbour to Australia. During the past few decades, people from these two countries have had good relations. In World War II, many Timorese people supported Australia, and more than 40,000 Timorese lives were sacrificed because Australia came to use Timor Island as a base to defend against Japan. In addition, in 1999 Australia supported Timor-Leste to end Indonesia’s military brutality.

Unfortunately, the history of past good relations has been scarred by Australian government policy to illegally occupy Timor-Leste’s maritime territory, because Australia is interested to take resources from this small nation. Therefore, today, MKOTT returns to call for justice in settling a maritime boundary which is fair to Timor-Leste’s people.

MKOTT comes to ask the following demands:

  1. Australia should return to the mechanisms for resolving maritime boundary disputes under the International Court of Justice and the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea.

  2. The Government of Australia should respect the rights of Timor-Leste’s people in the Timor Sea according to international law (UNCLOS).

  3. The Government of Australia should engage in honest and open negotiations about maritime boundaries, not only to talk about bilateral relations in general.

  4. The Government of Australia should stop stealing Timor-Leste’s people’s resources, which reduces opportunities for good lives for women, children, and vulnerable people in Timor-Leste.

In addition to the above demands, through this request, MKOTT also asks the Australian people, as a people who have shown their maturity and strong civic spirit, to:

  1. Stand alongside the people of Timor-Leste to fight for sovereignty, as you did during the Indonesian occupation.

  2. Encourage your Government to respect Timor-Leste’s people’s rights, through deciding a fair maritime boundary according to international legal principles.

  3. Help your domestic politics to become more democratic, respecting law and human rights, to make Australia an exemplary nation with a democratic system that other countries in this region can follow.