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Political Violence in Bali's North

Two Killed in During Pre-Election Political Campaign Activities on Island's North Coast.

(10/27/2003) Mob violence between supporters of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDIP) and the Golkar Party resulted in two deaths and numerous injuries in incidents on Sunday in Singaraja, the capital of North Bali.

The incident, which occurred in the early afternoon of Sunday, October 26, 2003, involved an attack by groups of youths supporting the PDIP on a Golkar office. The attack, allegedly a response to an earlier stone-throwing against a passing convoy of PDIP members. Hundreds of police officers were immediately dispatched to the area to quell disturbances that eventually spread to three locations, caused the two deaths, and resulted in substantial property damage to buildings and vehicles.

Those killed in the violence were two brothers, known to be supporters of the Golkar party from the village of Petandakan, near Buleleng.

Chief Pastika Embarrassed by Incident

Bali's Chief of Police, Inspector General Made Mangku Pastika, has immediately taken control of the investigation and police efforts to prevent further outbreaks of violence. Calling the perpetrators of the violence "domestic terrorists," he has vowed to handle the investigation and prosecution of those responsible in accordance with the law, without reference to party politics.

Clearly upset and unhappy with Sunday's attacks, Chief Pastika told local press in referring to the attacks, "I once felt very proud to be Balinese, but now am ashamed." In order to safeguard the island's reputation as an island of peace, the Chief has established a "special team" to handle the case.

Situation Has Returned to Normal

Reports from the area indicate that the situation had normalized by Monday morning, with extra police on duty in the area to prevent any reoccurrence of violence. Local press also report that the police are questioning a number of youths believed to have first-hand information in the incident