November 10, 2023 – The Government of Timor-Leste has imposed a six-month suspension on martial arts clubs and schools, as well as the practice of such activities, due to serious incidents recorded in recent days.

This resolution was published in an extraordinary issue of the Official Journal of the Republic, as announced by the Timorese government. The suspension affects the teaching, learning, and practice of martial arts and ritual arts throughout the national territory for a period of six months.

Additionally, the resolution mandates the closure of centers, clubs, and schools dedicated to martial arts practice for the same duration. The Martial Arts Regulatory Commission is given 90 days to conduct an inspection and present a report to the Government. This report will also be shared with the National Police of Timor-Leste and other competent authorities.

In response to the violence associated with martial arts practice, the Timorese Interior Minister, Francisco Guterres, is instructed to carry out a special criminal prevention operation in areas where incidents occurred. Moreover, the Ministers of Interior and Defense, including Donaciano do Rosário Gomes, are tasked with identifying police and military agents involved in organizing or practicing martial arts.

The decision by the Timorese government, led by Xanana Gusmão, is justified by the recent serious incidents across various locations in the country. The government reported a total of 54 incidents, resulting in four deaths, 26 injuries, and property damage to 21 homes and 10 vehicles.