Header Ads

Timor Gap Dispute With Australia Inspires Timorese Political Activism

BATAK CENTER FOR OCEANIAN STUDIES -- On March 22, 2016 at least 40,000 – perhaps as many as 70,000 Timorese attended a protest outside the Australian Embassy in Dili, Timor Leste.1 In a city of just over 200,000 people, this must be considered a very significant mobilisation. In February, there had already been a demonstration outside the Embassy organised by the Movement Against the Occupation of the Timor Sea (MKOTT) of almost 3,000.2 They mobilised again on March 23.3

Significantly Xanana Gusmao, former President and Prime Minister, and now Minister for Planning and Strategic Investment as well as official Chief Negotiator for Timor Leste on the maritime boundaries, made clear public calls for Timorese to join the March 22 demonstration.

To do this he used a platform provided by an organisation not usually prominent in Timorese politics, the Association of Black Brigade Combatants (ACBN).4 These demonstrations were preceded by steps by the Timor Leste parliament and government to establish the formal political infrastructure needed to mobilise the governmental resources needed to conduct a challenge to the Australian government on the issue of the maritime boundary between Australia and Timor Leste. These developments not only have implications for Australia-Timor Leste relations but also for the dynamics of domestic Timorese politics.


Defense and Technology

American Studies

European Studies

Powered by Blogger.