The overwhelming majority of the Timorese population voted in a UN sponsored referendum to end the 25 year long Indonesian military occupation. They rejected the proposal of " autonomy ". This occupation, backed by US imperialism, which started just after the Portuguese revolution was probably one of the most brutal in recent history.
The elections of June 7th in Indonesia were seized upon by the masses as an opportunity to express their rejection of the Habibie-Suharto regime and to unseat it. Although some layers of the student movement and workers activists called for a boycott of those elections their appeal had no significant impact amongst the masses. The massive rallies organised by the so-called "reform parties," especially in the capital Jakarta, attracted hundreds of thousands of supporters.
"Rakyat Bersatu Tak Terkalahkan", (the people united will never be defeated) is one of the most popular slogans shouted at the student demonstrations in Jakarta these days. It is proof of a clear shift in the orientation of the democratic student movement towards joining with the workers, the urban poor and the peasants in order to defeat the regime. The new organisations of students which sprung in existence the three last months tend to call themselves people's committees and not a few students are directly involved in organising the workers and the peasants.
On June 17th the Indonesian rupiah hit a new low of 16,800 to the dollar - a fall of 10% in one day, a collapse of 30% in one week. Economists are now predicting that inflation will hit 100% and the economy will contract by 20%. The rupiah has now devalued by a staggering 66% this year and more than 80% since the economic crisis began to unfold in mid-1997.