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Protests Clog Bali's Port of Gilimanuk

Motorcycle Jockeys and Street Vendors Protest Efforts to Clean Up Bali's Western Sea Gateway.

(7/27/2009) Efforts by police and port authorities to rid Bali's western gateway of illegal motorbike transport (Ojek) and street-side vendors (pedagang kaki lima) has precipitated street protests in and around the port of Gilimanuk.

According to the Bali Post, hundreds of motorcycle jockeys and street vendors launched a "sit-in" protest starting on Wednesday, July 22, 2009, on the access roads leading into and out of the port area causing a backlog of vehicles waiting to enter or exit the port.

The protests, which began on the morning of July 22nd, stretched from the local market in Gilimanuk to the port area, a distance of approximatley one kilometer. The protestors carried posters protesting the recent "clean up" of the area by port authorities and demanding that authorities take heed of their need to earn an income.

The peaceful demonstrations were observed by a platoon of riot police from the Jembrana police precinct and the Port Police of Gilimanuk.

On the Sunday (July 19th), prior to the latest demonstration, a group traveling from East Java to Denpasar, that included Bali's Governor, Made Mangku Pastika, was momentarily delayed in their travels by port protestors.

During Wednesday's demonstrations, protestors delivered speeches in front of the Gilimanuk Port Administrator's office and marched through the port before arriving in front of the ferry terminal.

Once the group arrived at the terminal, five representatives from the protestors were invited by the Chief of Security for the Port of Gilimanuk to the port police office for a dialogue with port officials, community leaders and police.

Following the meeting, Yoni, the Coordinator for the "Alliance of the People's Demands" told the press and demonstrators that no agreement had been reached during the meeting, as port officials remained adamant in their goal to rid the port area of illegal motorcycle jockeys and street vendors. Disappointed at this news, the protestors continued to block the access roads for an additional hour.

Traffic across the strait between Bali and Java resumed after the Chief of the Jembrana Police Precinct, AKBP Ketut Suardana, ordered the protestors to stop blocking the access roads.