The prime minister of East Timor, Mari Alkatiri, has said that recent violent protests were an attempt to stage a coup.
A statement from his office described the unrest as "an attempt of a constitutional coup d'etat".

Five people were killed in clashes last month after the sacking of some 600 soldiers for going on strike.

Buildings were destroyed and tens of thousands of people fled the capital, Dili, fearing further violence.

The soldiers went on strike in March to demand better working conditions and to protest against what they described as favouritism in promotions.

'Under control'

But Mr Alkatiri said the violence was aimed at provoking the fall of government.

It "had the aim of blocking the democratic institutions, preventing them to function in a way that the only solution would be for national parliament to be dissolved by the president", his statement said.

The prime minister said the situation was under control now and life was returning to normal.

But in further violence on Monday, a policeman was killed and two others injured in a clash in the town of Gleno, 30km (20 miles) southwest of Dili, when around 1,000 people surrounded a government office.

Several people were said to have been arrested following the violence.

Mr Alkatiri added the government would accept "our friends' assistance" if the situation changed.

Australia has said it would consider sending troops to East Timor if an official request were made.

The recent unrest has been the worst to hit East Timor for several years. It officially gained independence in 2002
"People say funny things......."

Peter Kay