east – west friction

bridge_045.jpg27 June 06 – today’s photos.

Near riot. It is amazing how fast these shop owners can close down and board up their shops when trouble is approaching.

50 to 75 guys came running up the street in Colmera, a shopping district in Dili. The shoppers ran and the shopkeepers and their staff feverishly put up boards and slammed their metal doors shut before the mob got to their store.

bridge_042.jpgI was buying oranges from one of the roadside vendors and thought it was a good time to be on my way.

The old Honda did not want to kick to life and it was beginning to not look good but then it sputtered to life and we were out of there. I headed back with my camera on foot.

The group started to attack the refugee camp nearby with stone throwing but the refugees came running out to protect their camp and started throwing rocks in return. One guy even showed up with a bow and arrow.

bridge_039.jpgSoon the Aussies arrived and defused the situation before it could get out of control.

It is a difficult situation.

There are so many young men living in the camps that don’t really have a whole lot to do during the day because there are just not many jobs available and they might not have a home to go back to.

bridge_034.jpgThere a are a few gangs struggling for control of the city as well.

There is no Timorese police force or military with any authority at this time so the Australians are doing the best they can.

They have basically prevented the country from complete collapse.

Dili 2006

Jun 27, 2006 www.dutchpickle.com

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