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Students hold third pro-independence rally

Lusa - May 6, 1999

Dili – Hundreds of East Timorese students in Dili demonstrated peacefully Thursday, for the third day in a row, waving banners and chanting slogans in favor of an independent East Timor.

The early morning rally was the first reaction in the East Timor capital to news that the UN-brokered East Timor plebiscite accord had been signed in New York by Portugal and Indonesia.

Various students told Lusa that they remained apprehensive about the security situation in the territory. The demonstration was a reminder that "we are not free yet" and that "we are living in a climate of fear and tension", they said.

The pro-independence rallies should continue at least until the weekend, they added.

Security forces were initially absent from the rally site near the Dili university campus. About 20 riot police arrived mid-morning but kept their distance, taking up a passive stance and removing their helmets.