Popular Consultation Day is held each year on 30 August in Timor-Leste. This is a public holiday in Timor-Leste and commemorates the day in 1999 when the people were “consulted” about their desire for independence in a popular referendum.
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After being a colony of Portugal for hundreds of years, East Timor was basically abandoned by its “mother country” in 1974 after the anti-colonial Carnation Revolution in Portugal. The people of East Timor immediately declared independence and successfully revolted, virtually unopposed.
But, Indonesia wasted no time in invading East Timor, out of a fear it would become Communist and serve as an ally of the Soviet Union and, perhaps, as a base for Communist intrusions into Indonesia.
In the 1990’s, Indonesia brutally suppressed an ongoing independence movement in East Timor. This eventually led to pressure by the UN, which in turn, led to a referendum on 30 August, 1999, where around 79 percent of voters chose independence.
On Popular Consultation Day, there are parades, military exercises, cultural events, and other activities held throughout Timor-Leste in celebration of their decision to become independent.