The Committee for Environmental Advocacy (Kekal) adopted a somewhat different approach in their latest rounds of protest demonstrations staged to call on Bali’s governor to withdrawn a 55-year use permit granted to a private firms to manage a 102.22 hectare mangrove forest area located near Bali’s airport and to halt the building of the suspended highway connecting Benoa-Ngurah Rai Airport - Nusa Dua.
The protests were held on Tuesday, October 23, 2012, in front of the Governor’s office in downtown Denpasar. According to Radar Bali, only 17 protestors participated in the spirited street theatre, which was covered by 25 members of the press and 32 law enforcement officers.
The protest saw a group of protestors wearing masks resembling governor Made Pangku Pastika dance in “Gangnam Style” – an erratic dance style currently sweeping the globe and made popular by the South Korean rapper Psy. Prompting the unique form of protest were comments made earlier by the Governor suggesting those protesting various projects on environmental groups were “di-Gangnam Style-kan” or, in other words, acting as the paid pawns of others hiding out of sight.
The chairman of Bali’s Friends of the Earth (WALHI), Gendo Suardana, speaking to the Bali Post said: “We are dancing Gangnam Style as a protest because governor Made Pastika said we were ‘di-Gangnam Style-kan’ by certain parties. Please show who it is that is manipulating us!”
Clearly indignant, Gendo challenged governor Pastika to undertake an audit of all communication between the staff of WALHI and Kekal Bali. Adding: “I am ready to be audited. If it’s not enough to just audit Gendo, then please go ahead an audit my wife’s bank accounts too. If that’s not enough, then go ahead and search my house.”
Continuing, Gendo suggested that after the proposed audits of WALHI and Kekal are completed, the Governor should also be prepared to undergo an audit. Pursuing his point, Gendo said: “This is an open challenge to determine who (among us) is cleaner, more independent and who it is that is actually battling on behalf of Bali. Since 1995, I have demonstrated and protested without a single cent being paid to me. Moreover, we defended the governor completely when efforts were underway by the regencies and cities to revise the RTRWP (provincial zoning law).”
The demonstrators vowed to continue their protest until the Governor is prepared to meet with them personally and answer Kekal’s challenge to hold an open debate and present proof in support of his allegations that WALHI and Kekal are being manipulated.
Photo: Jaringnews/Sri Lestari
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