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Three-Day Road Blockade of Baliís Northern Coastal Highway Ends as Chief of Police Meets with Protesting Villagers

(11/10/2013) After being blockaded for almost three days, the major road connecting Bali’s former northern capital of Singaraja and the western port of Gilimanuk was re-opened to traffic early on Saturday morning, November 9, 2013.

The road, blocked by villagers from Sumberkelampok seeking permanent title to their squatter land, was reopened after Bali Chief of Police Inspector General Albertus Julius Benny Mokalu came to the location of the protest and met with villagers.

Mokalu arrived at Sumberkelampok on Friday, November 11, 2013 arriving at 10:30 pm. He was accompanied by the Deputy Chief of Police for Bali, General Dewa Putu Anom the Head of Police Operations in Bali Commissioner Alit Widana, and the head of the Buleleng police precinct Benny Arjanto.

Arriving in the middle of the night, Bali’s top cop met with the protestors from Sumberkelampok. Mokalu listened to local citizens’ demands to obtain formal ownership of their squatter-land that been their adress for decades.

He also heard protestors’ demands that Governor Pastika come to their village and explain why a promised recommendation to obtain land title on thier state-owned land has not been issued.

Chief Mokalu told the protestors that he would facilitate their desires and bring their aspirations to the Governor.

During that meeting, Mokalu called on the people to re-open the road and end their disruption of public activities.

At 2:00 am the citizens meeting with the Police Chief announced they would re-open the road. A short time later, assisted by police, 40 separate roadblocks were removed from the road and tents set up on the road were dismantled.

Heavy construction equipment form the Department of Public Works were also deployed to remove fallen trees and lime stone boulders placed by the protestors on the road.

Shortly before sunrise traffic began moving again on the road.

The Bali Post reports that policemen helping to clear the road sang songs to the villagers, while the Chief of Police gave supplies to children and materials to help repair a local hall.

Chief Mokalu thanked the people of Sumberkelampok for taking the initiative to reopen the road.

A village spokesman refused the offer to meet with the Governor in Denpasar, insisting that Pastika must  travel to Sumberkelampok to meet with the squatters.

Separately, as reported by DenPost, the Governor said he acknowledged the desire of the people to have title on the land, but any such transfer of ownership would require the recommendation of the Bali Provincial House of Representatives (DPRD). In order for the land ownership to be assigned to the people of Sumberkelampok, an appeal needs to be made to the DPRD.

To this end, Governor Pastika said he would try to convene a meeting on between the DPRD-Bali, DPRD-Buleleng and the Regent of Buleleng as soon as possible.