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Friday, 17 May, 2002, 11:55 GMT 12:55 UK
In pictures: East Timor's steps to freedom
As East Timor celebrates its independence, BBC News Online looks back at the events following the bloody 1999 vote to break away from 24 years of Indonesian rule.

East Timorese flee their homes in trucks, 1999
Pro-Indonesian militias went on the rampage before, during and after the poll. More than 250,000 people fled their homes.

East Timorese queue to vote, August 1999
Despite voter intimidation, there was a 99% turnout and a huge majority in favour of independence.

Xanana Gusmao
Following the results, Indonesia released from jail East Timor's popular independence leader Xanana Gusmao.

UN troops arriving in Dili, October 1999
Australian-led United Nations peacekeeping forces arrived in September 1999.

UN peacekeeping soldier patrol Dili, 1999
About 8,000 peacekeeping troops, 1,500 international police and 1,300 foreign civilian staff were sent to help run East Timor.

East Timorese refugees
Thousands of people who had fled into Indonesian-ruled West Timor started to return to East Timor.

Families queue to vote in the April 2002 presidential election
More steps towards democracy - the constituent assembly election in 2001 and in April 2002 its first ever presidential vote.

Xanana Gusmao during the 2002 presidential election campaign
Xanana Gusmao, who won the presidency by a landslide, supports an amnesty for those accused of the 1999 violence.
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