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A Quiet Start to a Balinese New Year

'Operasi Ogoh Ogoh Agung' a Success as Police Mobilize 7,000 Police to Keep the Peace.

(4/3/2006) As reported on balidiscovery.com, [ See: Keeping Nyepi's Peace and Quiet as Advertised], some 7,000 police were deployed across Bali to ensure that pangerupukan (ngerupuk) celebrations were held on virtually every street of every village across the island took place without major incident.

Despite the potentially volatile combination of inter-banjar rivalry among competing Ogoh-Ogoh floats and readily available refreshment in the form of arak wine, the night of abandon followed by day of absolute silence Nyepi passed without major incident.

The Wild Boys of Tanjung Bungkak

According to the Indonesian language Bali Post, police charge six young men from the Denpasar community of Tanjung Bungkak in connection with a violation of rules regarding public intoxication and an alleged attack on a local rice storage shed. The six charged were among a group of 11 boys from the Jalan Akasia area who became angered when pecalang from the local village security force and police refused the group's attempt to bring their Ogoh-ogoh onto a major street, outside the pre-agreed parade area for their banjar.

The Lone Ranger from Holland

The Bali Post also carried the report of a frustrated attempt by 41 year-old Dutchman, Gregori van Gigh, to violate the peace of Nyepi by riding his motorbike from a rented villa in Dalung, Denpasar through the otherwise deserted streets of downtown Kuta. Forceably stopped by local pecalang charged with keeping the officially-mandated "quiet," the Dutchman was told he could only return to his residence if he would agree to push his motorbike the entire way.

The "easy-riding" Dutchman persisted, however, reportedly insisting that he be allowed to freely continue his journey, enjoying the completely deserted streets on his motorcycle. With local pecalang growing increasingly frustrated with van Gigh, the visitor and his motorcycle were eventually escorted to safety by Kuta police to a local home-stay immediately adjacent to the Kuta precinct house. The following morning, when Nyepi observances had officially finished, van Gigh was given his keys and allowed to drive back to his villa.

Police Chief Sunarko

Bali's Chief of Police Drs. Sunarko Danu Ardanto, who joined his oficers on patrol in South Bali during Ogoh-Ogoh celebrations, gave his "thumbs up" on the performance of his security team and the people, saying, "I am proud the witness the solid community spirit of the people of Bali."