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Tanjung Benoa Water Sports Operators in Bali Stage Protests Against Plans to Reclaim Benoa Bay

Bali News: Bali, Indonesia, reclamation protests, Water Sports Operators, Tanjung Benoa, WALI, Suryadi Darmoko, Komnas HAM, Johan Effendi
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Bali Post reports that 18 members of the Tanjung Benoa Water Sports Association in South Bali staged a peaceful demonstration of Wednesday, August 27, 2014 to show their solidarity in opposing plans to reclaim large sections of Benoa Bay.

The water sports operators, who earn their livings along the shorelines of Tanjung Benoa, installed banners with messages opposing the reclamation outside the entrances of the several water sports centers where tens of protestors screamed their objections to the project.

The chairman of the Alliance of Tanjung Benoa Water Sports Operators, Nyoman Karjaya, said 18 of the 20 water sports operators in the area had joined the grouping and stated their support of the protest movement.

Included in the alliance are the following water sports operator: Pandawa, BMR, Bayu Sutha, Siwa Sempurna, Mawar Kuning, Bali Dolphin, NBC, Bali Indah, Sea-Track, Mekar Sari, Kanaka, Water Mark, Bali Pasifik, Batara, Wibisana, Jet Set, Zooka and North Coast.

Karjaya said the protests on August 27th represented are only the beginning of the group's struggle to oppose the reclamation project, adding he hoped the new government of President Joko Widodo is prepared to hear the objections and aspirations of the people of Bali. He also called for the revocation of the Presidential Declaration, signed by outgoing President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, authorizing the project by removing the "conservation area" classification of the wetland area.

The protestors said the planned reclamation project would destroy the local environment and destroy the group’s ability to earn an income and support their families.

Banner Destruction

Separately, the Green Indonesia Movement (WALHI) have raised concerns about the destruction and defacement of protest banners on the eve of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's visit to Bali to attend the 6th Global Forum of the UN Alliance of Civilization.

WAHLI's concerns that free speech was being curtailed to hide from the President the widespread opposition to the reclamation project was tabled by the organization's director, Suryadi Darmoko, on Wednesday, August 27, 2014.

Darmoko pledged to continue to actively and vocally oppose the reclamation project despite continued intimidation. He warned that WAHLI was not alone in opposing Benoa Bay's reclamation, but was joined in their opposition by thousands of Balinese including ForBali, STT, members of the local banjar and many other groupings representing every regency of Bali.

WAHLI has reported the destruction, remove and defacement of protest banners to the National Committee for Human Rights (Komnas HAM). The head of the administration bureau for Komnas HAM, Johan Effendi, has acknowledged receipt of the complaint filed by WALHI, promising the complaint would be followed up.

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