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Not Going with the Flow

Angry Bali Villagers Close Ayung River to White Water Rafting Operators

(6/24/2013) Angry villagers living along the banks of the Ayung River in Central Bali brought river rafting operations to a complete halt on Sunday, June 23, 2013, when they cut trees, felling them across the river and making the passage of the rubber rafts used by rafting companies impossible.

Reported by both Nusa Bali, The Bali Post and DenPost - hundreds of villagers blockaded the river in protest at the failure of river rafting companies to pay an agreed Rp. 500,000 (US$50) per month to each of the 11 communities (banjars) for the past ten months.

Villagers complain that the hundred of tourist visitors traveling the river on rafts prevent traditional economic pursuits such as fishing or the breeding of live fish. For this reason, the rafting companies agreed to provide each Banjar a cash compensation of Rp. 500,000 each month. But, for the past 10 months, the rafting companies argue they are no longer able to make these payments.

Police and military personnel were deployed along the river on Sunday to keep the peace on Sunday while rafting operations came to a halt.

Villagers have pledged even stronger action if any attempt is made to remove the fallen trees blocking the river before an acceptable settlement is reached between local residents and the rafting operators.

Meanwhile, the chief of the local police precinct has promised to convene a meeting of between rafting operators and the local banjars to try to achieve a peaceful solution to the protests.

An estimate 12 rafting companies operate river trips along the Ayung River.

Balidiscovery.com has learned that  rafting operations along the river resumed on Monday, June 24, 2013.