The Chief of Police for Bali, Inspector General Drs. Paulus Purwoko has introduced changes in the way his officers will keep the peace over the coming Nyepi holidays. In anticipation of this year's the pre-Nyepi festivities, including the traditional ogoh-ogoh parades, Chief Purwoko will deploy 7,000 officers with 400 mobile brigade (Brimob) reserves on stand-by at their barracks.
Differing from the security approach of past years, uniformed officers will adopt a lower profile during Bali's official day of silence, leaving front-line maintenance of the peace to pecalang or local community volunteer forces during this year's celebrations. In explaining the new approach to the Indonesian-language Bali Post, Chief Purwoko said: "the police will be on guard at their posts, awaiting operational commands if there are any disturbances. The function of 'pecalang' will be made more effective; while we (the police) will back them up ensuring that anarchy is avoided."
Purwoko went on to explain that he deemed a full deployment of his officers to the field over the holidays ineffective, with their presence having the potential to disrupt ceremonies and ritual. Instead, the police will be depending on intelligence operatives while keeping a full force in reserve at local station houses. "There will be sufficient officers in the field with full back up in reserve ready to be deployed at a moment's notice," added Chief Purwoko.
As an added guarantee of safety over the Nyepi Eve the Bali police have held coordinating discussions with Bali Hindu religious associations and religious leaders to ensure that every ogoh-ogoh parade seeks prior agreement from every village included on the parade routes. In the past, sporadic fighting has occasionally occurred between parade participants from competing villages.
In striving to coordinate ogoh-ogoh activities the Bali police have already registered 150 separate parades occurring on the south of the Island. In an additional step to keep the peace, police have recently intensified raids to confiscate illegal liquor supplies in an effort to curb public drunkenness during the Holiday.
Recommendations from Chief Purwoko
In order to maintain good public order over the Nyepi period, Bali's police chief General Paulus Purwoko has issued 5 recommendations to the people of Bali:
1) Ogoh-ogoh parades should be confined to the home villages of the participants. When the parade route goes outside the home village, prior permission should be obtained from the any villages the parade will pass through. Those organizing ogoh-ogoh parades must assume complete responsibility on the conduct of the activity.
2) Celebrants should avoid the use of alcohol in celebrating Nyepi
3) Ogoh-ogoh statues should be destroyed or disposed of after celebrations and not be left in places that will inconvenience the public.
4) The official day of silence in Bali will take place between 06:00 a.m. on March 19th and end 24 hours later at 06:00 a.m. on March 20th.
5) Religious leaders and community leaders are asked to take an active role in preserving harmonious community relations in order that the Nyepi holidays can take place without incident.
[Bali's Airport Closed for 24 Hours on March 19, 2007]
[Nyepi 2007 to Fall on March 19, 2007]
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