The President of East Timor has threatened to resign. Xanana Gusmao says he will stand down if the embattled Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri does not hand in his notice. At least 20 people died in violence that was triggered when Alkatiri sacked hundreds of striking soldiers last month.
Gusmao has called on the Prime Minister to take responsibility for the crisis, but he and his party have been resisting calls for his resignation. The President is reported as saying he is ashamed of what the state is doing to the people.
Demonstrations calling for Alkatiri’s removal have been growing in recent weeks. However, his Fretilin party enjoys an overwhelming majority in parliament. Foreign peacekeepers continue to patrol the streets.