Sunday, November 28, 2010

Independence Day (one of three)

Timorese President Horta, center with striped shirt, Prime Minister Gusmao, at right in blue shirt, greet the Indonesian band members just before they take the stage for an independence concert.
Sunday, November 28th, the Timorese people marked the date 35 years ago when Portugal gave the country its independence. It was short-lived, days later, Indonesian forces would invade and occupy the country for some 25 years. 

Timor's history leaves it with essentially three independence dates -- August 30, 1999, is referendum day -- the day Timorese people voted to be independent from Indonesia. On May 20, 2002, Timor-Leste became the first new nation of the 21st century -- after Indonesian troops finally withdrew.

Timorese Prime Minister Gusmao overseeing the water cleanup just before the independence day concert.
Sunday's anniversary was marked by a big concert in front of the government palace with a top name Indonesian band as the main headliner. Earlier in the day, a cloudburst left everything soggy -- including the concert venue. Up until the start of the concert, workers were busy with sump pumps trying to get all the water out of the way --and at one point, the Prime Minister, himself, Xanana Gusmao, was overseeing the cleanup.

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