This Day in History

Nov. 12, 1991: Indonesian Massacre of East Timorese

Time Periods: Post-Civil Rights Era: 1975 - 2000
Themes: US Foreign Policy, Wars & Related Anti-War Movements, World History/Global Studies

On Nov. 12, 1991, U.S. trained and equipped Indonesian troops fired on a peaceful memorial procession in a cemetery in Dili, East Timor, killing more than 270 East Timorese. Indonesian troops went on killing for days.

Indonesia Timor

Children hold photos of the victims of the 1991 Santa Cruz massacre during the 19th commemoration in Dili, East Timor, on Friday, Nov. 12, 2010. Source: AP/Jordao Henrique.

This attack was not the first, nor the largest. However it was the first to be witnessed and documented by foreign journalists and resulted in an international outcry against the brutality of the Indonesian occupation and demands for a free East Timor.

Learn more from 20th Anniversary of Santa Cruz Massacre: Watch Documentary Massacre: The Story of East Timor on Democracy Now.