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Protesters in East Timor Demonstrate Against Dismissal of Soldiers

Hundreds of protesters have gathered in East Timor's capital, Dili, to demonstrate against last month's government dismissal of nearly 600 soldiers.

At least three cars were set on fire and several buildings vandalized during the demonstrations Friday. The protesters included a large number of the former soldiers.

The 600 soldiers were dismissed from the army last month after complaining about unjust working conditions.

The soldiers say they were fired unfairly after accusing their commanders of favoritism and creating poor working conditions. Most of the ousted soldiers are from western districts, and they say soldiers from eastern districts get better treatment.

The soldiers have threatened to wage a guerrilla war if the government does not resolve their dispute with army leadership.

The dismissed soldiers make up one third of the small country's defense force.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and AFP.