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Demonstrations With A Difference

A Number of Demonstrations Were Held Last Week in Bali by People Fed Up with Threats of 'Sweeping' Elsewhere in Indonesia. Proof Again that Bali is Safe; Bali is Different.

(10/7/2001) Obviously, people in Bali are becoming increasing disgruntled and upset with dwindling arrival figures caused by pointless threats of sweeping against foreign nationals recently issued in Central Java and Jakarta. As a measure of the local population's unhappiness, a number of demonstrations and public protests were held in Bali last week condemning any acts that threaten the safety and security of visitors to Indonesia.

The Communication Forum of Tourism Workers from Buleleng, marched on the regional parliament in North Bali to criticize and reject sweeping actions against foreign guests. Complaining that threats of sweeping in other parts of Indonesia had caused a sudden drop in visitors to North Bali, the tourism workers called on the government to be strong and resolute in opposing such actions.

In a similar protest, hundreds of people from east Bali's Karangasem district traveled to Denpasar to stage a sit-in anti-sweeping protest at the Provincial Parliament on Tuesday. The protestors demanded and got audiences with top government officials to whom they depicted actions against foreign visitors as "immoral, stupid and only likely to worsen Indonesia's position in the eyes of the international community." Hundreds were heard chanting "Peaceful ... Yes, Sweeping ... No".

In receiving the protestors, the Vice-Governor of Bali, Mr. IGB Alit Putra took the opportunity to read a formal statement from Bali's Governor firmly rejecting sweeping activities on Bali, telling the protestors that "We speak a common language" when it comes to rejecting sweeping.

Bali's Islamic Students Reject "Sweeping"

Student leaders from various Islamic movements in Bali also spoke out in the local press last week condemning those who might threaten to retaliate against U.S. interests for potential future attacks against the nation of Afghanistan.

Mr. Taufik Hidayat, Secretary of the Association of Islamic Students (MHI), announced that his association had no plans for either sweeping actions or jihad. Explaining that violence does not demand a violent response, Taufik, together with three other Moslem youth leaders, underlined a desire not to disrupt Bali's tourism industry.

Taufik also stated that sweeping would destroy the pluralism that exists in Bali, saying, "harmony between the various religions in Bali should not be upset by acts of spontaneous emotion."