East Timor PM may move to end to religious row

Dili, East Timor - East Timor's prime minister, Mari Alkatari, has reportedly hinted his government may reverse a decision to end compulsory religious classes in state schools.

The reversal has been demanded by recent protesters, backed by the nation's powerful Roman Catholic Church.

Mr Alkatari has told a Lisbon-based radio that any change would have to be made by the cabinet.

Thousands of people have taken part in peaceful rallies in the Timorese capital, Dili, over the past week to demand the resignation of Mr Alkatri and his leftist government.

In February, the predominantly Roman Catholic country's government decreed that religion should not be a compulsory subject in government schools, although it would be made available as an option for all students if they wished.