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Australian troops step up patrols around Dili

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Australian troops step up patrols around Dili


Australian peacekeepers have tightened their road block around the capital of East Timor with fresh outbreaks of violence reported on the outskirts of the city.

It is the first unrest in Dili since fighting broke out last month. Trouble flared in the former Indonesian territory after Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri sacked hundreds of troops who went on strike – a decision that triggered clashes between rebel soldiers and gangs. At least 100,000 people have been displaced and up to 20 others have been killed in the subsequent fighting leading many to call for his resignation. But Parliament speaker, Francisco Guterres, says the Prime Minister will only be removed by legal measures. “Every citizen is free to demonstrate but the laws and constitution of the country must be respected,” he stressed. Meanwhile, Australian and Portuguese officials have reached a deal to end tension between their forces operating in East Timor. An agreement has been struck in which Portuguese military police will guard the centre of the capital, while Australian troops will maintain its perimeter.
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