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CNN 20: East Timor Vote for Independence, August 30, 1999Aired August 30, 2000 - 1:48 p.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
MARIA RESSA, CNN JAKARTA BUREAU CHIEF: Hundreds were on line even before polls opened, waving their registration cards, eager to cast their votes despite the violence that has killed at least 10 people since Thursday.
"We've been looking forward to this for a long time," says this man. "We're not afraid; even if we die, we will vote."
Two big things stick out for me in East Timor: one is the level of intimidation and violence -- how it's part of everyday life there -- and then how they risk it all. You know, how, despite the level of fear, they wanted a vote.
And the day of the vote was an incredible climax -- 6:30 in the morning, they were lined up. People lined up at night. People walked for days to get to the polling stations, and you saw their faces, and you saw such hope in the way they were looking, the way they were holding their cards, and the turnout was incredible. It was 98.7 percent of the voters. And then afterwards, how almost as soon as that day ended, one of the U.N. workers was killed. It's something that Timorese have been used to, this climate, and yet they risked it to try to vote.
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