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Is Bali Safe? - Situation Update, October 14

Coalition Attack Plus 7 Days - and it's Very Much Business As Usual in Bali.

Bali News:
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Now, some 7 days after coalition forces launched attacks on Afghanistan and the situation in Bali remains much as ever, with all tourist attractions, hotels and facilities operating on a "business as usual" basis.

Statements issued by the island's religious leaders representing all faiths in Bali, and student opinion - are all unified in the view that any actions that might disturb the island's substantial tourism industry cannot not be tolerated. Underlining this firm resolve, a press conference was held on Friday (October 12), in which five Islamic student organizations forming the Alliance of Islamic Students (APPI) went on record stating their opposition to all forms of violence and any actions directed at foreign visitors in Bali. The group also announced their commitment to work together with various Hindu youth organizations and desire to contact foreign residents in Bali to show that Bali is absolutely safe for tourists from every country.

Mr. Wimmy Surya Herlambang, the spokesman for APPI, explained that the strong harmony that exists between religious groups in Bali must be preserved and his organization's fervent wish is "to preserve the positive pluralism that exists in Bali."

Meanwhile, in far away Jakarta, there are indications that the security situation, although admittedly heightened, may not be a bleak as that depicted on CNN and other international media. Last Friday's demonstration in front of the U.S. Embassy, predicted to be massive by the media, managed to materialize less than 1,000 protestors who called for an end to the Afghanistan conflict and then dispersed for home in time for dinner. A leading daily paper from the capital also carried a picture of 3 European tourists walking undisturbed through a group of demonstrators outside the U.S. Embassy.

Despite the angry rhetoric carried on international news reports, even in Jakarta good manners between individuals seems very much to still prevail.

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