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Thousands Gather in East Timor's Capital in Show of Support for Former Prime Minister

Thousands of protesters have gathered in East Timor's capital in support of former Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri, who resigned earlier this week.

Supporters of the former prime minister's ruling Fretilin party arrived in Dili Thursday chanting slogans such as "Long Live Unity." On the way to Dili, foreign peacekeepers set up a large operation to make sure protesters were not carrying weapons.

Violence erupted this week after Mr. Alkatiri resigned amid accusations he mishandled a military mutiny that sparked two months of street violence and looting.

East Timor's president, Xanana Gusmao, said Thursday that holding elections as soon as possible is the only way out of the country's political crisis.

A statement by Mr. Gusmao's office did not set a date for elections or give any details of ongoing talks about the formation of an interim government.