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The events surrounding East Timor's struggle for independence in 1999 were marked by a crucial referendum on August 30th, where an overwhelming majority of the East Timorese population participated in determining their political fate. The result, announced by U.N. officials, revealed that more than 78 percent of East Timorese had chosen independence over Indonesia's autonomy proposal, expressing a strong desire for self-determination. However, this historic moment was swiftly followed by a tragic turn of events. In retaliation against the outcome of the referendum, Indonesian military and police forces, supported by local paramilitary groups, launched a devastating scorched-earth campaign. The consequences were severe, with over 1,500 Timorese losing their lives in the violence. The impact on the population was far-reaching, as nearly half of East Timor's residents were displaced from their homes. More than 100,000 people were forcibly relocated across the border into neighboring West Timor, leading to a widespread humanitarian crisis. As a result of the brutal campaign, significant portions of East Timor were laid to waste, with destruction extending beyond the loss of lives and displacement of people. The international community, witnessing these atrocities, condemned the actions of the Indonesian forces and rallied support for East Timor's struggle for independence. Ultimately, these events marked a pivotal chapter in East Timor's quest for self-governance and independence from Indonesian rule.

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