Timor-Leste Anniversary of the Indonesian Invasion

Timor-Leste Anniversary of the Indonesian Invasion

December 7
During Indonesia's 24-year occupation of its smaller neighbor, East Timor, the Timorese began commemorating historical dates, including the anniversary of the invasion of Indonesian forces on December 7, 1975. The arrival of the Indonesians initiated a period of occupation in which about 200,000 Timorese were killed. Today, in the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste (internationally recognized since 2002), this anniversary remains an occasion to mourn those who were killed and to seek redress for crimes committed during the occupation.
Beginning in 1976, the year Indonesia annexed the nation then known as East Timor, the Timorese established a tradition of gathering in the capital, Dili, to commemorate the anniversary of the invasion and stage a public protest over Indonesia's actions. Candlelight vigils and commemorative church services also became common throughout the country and around the world. An historic demonstration took place on the 20th anniversary in 1995, when 112 East Timorese and supporters temporarily occupied Russian and Dutch embassies in Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia.
In the years since Timor-Leste achieved independence, human rights and other political groups have marked milestone anniversaries of the invasion by continuing to demand justice for the occupation's victims.
CONTACTS:
Embassy of the Democratic Republic of Timor Leste
4201 Connecticut Ave. N.W., Ste. 504
Washington, D.C. 20008
202-966-3202; fax: 202-966-3205