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A Bali Demolition Derby Part III

Hindu Demonstrators Give Badung Officials 21 Days to Move Against Buildings Standing within 5 Km of Uluwatu Temple.

(5/24/2008) Emotions continue to escalate across Bali between opposing parties in the debate on whether a 5 km "no build" zone surrounding the Uluwatu Temple and other public temples on the Island should be strictly onserved.

According to Bali Post, on Monday, May 12, 2008, hundred of demonstrators proclaiming themselves as "People Concerned for Bali's Sacred Places" gathered in front of the regional House of Representatives for Badung at Sempidi. The protestors, coordinated by Si Ketut Mandiranatha, also held a demonstration at the Bali Provincial House of Representatives to show their support for the long-standing regulations of the Council of Hindu Affairs (PHDI) and the Provincial Law (2005) outlawing any construction within 5 km of a major Public Temple.

21 Day Deadline Issued

As reported in the Bali Post, the protestors gave a 21-day deadline to regional and provincial legislators to prove their commitment in the current controversy by taking action against the hotels and villas standing within a 5 km radius of the Uluwatu Temple. Giving a hint of things to come, Mandiranatha said: "Actually we planned on bringing thousands of demonstrators. From university students we planned to bring 3,000 people, from the community of Jembrana we were going to bring 2,000 people, and that doesn't include people from the general public. But I urged, don't (bring so many people). It would be pointless with the Bupati and his Council currently on tour to Paris."

The demonstrator arrived at around 10:30 a.m. where they provided public orations in front of the House of Representatives followed by a meeting between ten of the protestors and a group of legislators from the Badung DPRD. During their meeting with the legislators the demonstrators expressed their strong displeasure with a recent group who protested in favor of buildings within 5 km of the Uluwatu Temple.

Mandiranatha also disdained local legislators who have used their power in an authoritarian manner and tried to defend their decisions by pointing to similar building violations in other areas of Bali. "They should demolish (the buildings) first if they have any courage," he suggested.

"Advance Without Fear"

Meanwhile at the Bali Provincial House of Representatives hundred of local leaders dressed in white traditional Balinese garments were received by the Head of Commission I of the DPRD Bali, Made Arjaya. As Mandiranatha walked up the stairs to meet the legislators he sang a popular song "Maju tak Gentar" (Advance without Fear) to which the lyrics had be altered to: "Advance without fear and oust the greedy officials; advance without fear and oust the land speculators." Mandiranatha later added, "I am sad that the sacred area of Uluwatu is being trespassed upon out of the interest of greedy officials and that the Uluwati area has been sub-divided for villas."

A Problem of Enforcement?

I.B. Purwa and the former Chairman of the Jembrana House of Representatives (DPRD), Wayan Mawa, who both joined the demonstrations, called on the Bali DPRD to be consistent and enforce the PHDI regulations creating a 5 km radius around public temples. They also called on the legislators to enforce set back rules from the beach in order to give wider access to the public for religious ceremonies.

Related Articles

[A Bali Demolition Derby Part II ]

[A Bali Demolition Derby]

[Crackdown on Construction Near Uluwatu]

[Editorial: Cry, the Beloved Country]