Gusmao may impose state of emergency in E Timor
By Mark Willacy
East Timor's President Xanana Gusmao has threatened to impose a state of emergency to stop an outbreak of civil unrest.
Alfredo Reinado slipped through a ring of Australian soldiers who surrounded his compound in the town of Same, south of Dili, on the weekend.
The former East Timorese army officer is now on the run in rugged mountain country.
His exploits have helped to spark renewed unrest in the capital, with protesters chanting slogans in support of Reinado outside the Australian embassy in Dili and youths throwing rocks at UN cars.
Fearing an outbreak of violence, President Gusmao has vowed to use all legal means to pursue the rebel leader.
He is also threatening to announce a state of emergency if violence intensifies and if criminal gangs continue to harass people.
The Defence Force Association says it is too early to tell if public support for Australian peacekeepers in East Timor will dissipate after the weekend's raid.
The executive director of the Defence Force Association, Neil James, says it will make the job of the force harder, but he says they would not have taken the step unless absolutely necessary.
"You can't solve this problem by military force, there has to be a political and constitutional solution within the Timorese people," he said.
"You can't impose a solution from outside because then you very much become part of the problem."
Meanwhile staff at the Australian Embassy in East Timor are being allowed to evacuate amid the worsening security situation.
Foreign Minister Alexander Downer has authorised the voluntary departure of family and non-emergency staff from the embassy.
Australians in general are being urged to consider leaving the country and tourists are being told not to travel there.
National Movement for Justice
Meanwhile the National Movement for Justice say East Timor's Prime Minister cancelled a trip to Same planned by its delegates that was approved by Mr Gusmao.
Members of the movement met with Mr Gusmao on Saturday to talk about an alternative approach to capturing Reinado.
The group says East Timor's Prime Minister, Jose Ramos Horta, cancelled their flight into Same with the Australian Army after the meeting had occurred.
One its members, Augusto Junior Trendada, says the group wants peace in the country and is not affiliated with any political party.
"All are youth, academic, chairs, Muslim, Protestant, all people involved in Timor Leste involved in the National Unity Movement,' he said.
"But not one political. All Timorese who want to stabilise