Recent street theatre protests enacted by taxi drivers who are members of the Tourism Transportation Association (PJWB) have apparently deeply wounded Bali's governor, Made Mangku Pastika.
On June 7, 2010, a group of "Anti Blue Bird protesters" ritually cremated the governor's effigy in front of Pastika's office in order to show their displeasure with his apparent refusal to take punitive action against a competing taxi company - Bali Taxi.
Quoted on beritabali.com, governor Pastika told a group of Balinese religious leaders that he was saddened by the lack of morality demonstrated by the protesting taxi drivers. The governor reportedly cried when he heard the epithets of the protesters accompanied by religious chants, explaining: "I was not angry, but instead sad. This was an affront to religion."
Pastika expressed the wish that Bali's sacred rituals not be mocked, saying "didn't they know that the items burnt were sacred symbols?"
Half in jest, the Governor suggested it was no longer appropriate for him to serve as the island's chief executive: "The current governor has been cremated. That means all that's left of me is my spirit."
On a more sober note, however, the governor warned that if he pursued legal action against the 9 men known to be behind the mock cremation they could be charged with three separate legal violations. First, criminal insult; second, defaming his good name; and, finally, with religious blasphemy. Sounding an ominous message, Pastika said: "If I want to look for these 9 guys, I'll find them." Referring to his capture of the now-executed Bali bombers, Pastika added, "I caught Amrozy, didn't I?"
[Bali's Taxi War Turns Violent]
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