while disturbances happen pretty regularly during dili nights, they are mostly limited to isolated rock throwing and fights. last night however, things stepped up a bit. my housemates and i were eating dinner when we heard a few minutes of gunfire rattling off. pretty soon after, the security forces rolled out; armored personnel carriers thundered by our house, and unlit helicopters started roaming the skies to conduct some night vision recon. when we went up to the balcony for a peek, we could see an enormous plume of glowing smoke coming from a few blocks away. it turns out that gangs had been setting fire to houses, tires, and even the australian helipad and military base. the peacekeepers eventually had to use tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse everyone. things didn't quiet down until the morning, but are pretty much back to normal now. let's hope they stay that way. for more about last night and its context, check out this article in the international herald.