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A Perpetual and Persistent Protest

Demonstrator Opposed to Reclamation of Benoa Bay Install Symbolic Locks and Chains on the Front Gate of Bali's House of Representatives

ForBALI and the Association of Tradition Villages Opposed to the Reclamation of Benoa Bay (Desa Adat/Pakraman Bali Tolak Reklamasi Teluk Benoa) once again took to the streets of Bali to demonstrate their continuing opposition of efforts by a large business group to turn the former mangrove conservation area adjacent to the Island’s sole toll way into a residential and entertainment complex.

As reported by Balipost.com, the demonstrations, targeted at the Provincial House of Representatives (DPRD-Bali), were held on Tuesday, April 30, 2019. The latest in a long series of street protests, saw demonstrators gather in the eastern parking lot in Renon before heading for the Provincial Environmental Office in Bali.

However, when the demonstrators arrive at the gates of the DPRD-Bali they installed locks and chains on the “people’s house.”

The coordinator of ForBALI, I Wayan Gendo Suardana, commented: “This represent a symbolic form of protest directed at the DPRD-Bali who have always closed their doors, refusing to meet the people. Until now, they have failed to take any political action (on the reclamation of Benoa Bay).”

Balipost.com reports that the installation of locks on the gate caused no permanent damage to the entrance. The protestors re-issued their long-standing demand that the DPRD-Bali send a joint letter to President Joko Widodo, similar to a letter sent by Bali Governor Wayan Koster, demanding the repeal of a Presidential Decree that was rushed through by then President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono at the seeming behest of businessman Tommy Winata, that changed the status of the Benoa Bay conservation zone into a commercial development zone.

The demonstrators are demanding that the Benoa Bay be returned to its original status as a conservation zone and for the Minister of the Seas and Fisheries, Susi Pudjiastuti, revoke the location permit for Benoa Bay issued on November 28, 2018 to PT Tirta Wahana Bali Internasional (PT TWBI) – a company controlled by Tommy Winata. The group called on Minister Susi Pudjiastuti to issue an open apology to the people of Bali for issuing the location permit (izin lokasi). Finally, the angry Bali residents want President Joko Widodo to revise Yudhoyono’s presidential decree (Perpres No. 51 of 2014) and return the conservation zone status to Benoa Bay.

ForBALI also called on Governor Koster to urgently call on President Joko Widodo to issue s revocation of the 2014 decree and, in so doing, join every political party in Bali that have rejected the reclamation of Benoa Bay.

The protestors pointed to a number of development projects in Bali that have been undertaken outside the law and established procedures. A case in point, is the massive development of the Port of Benoa that includes dredging and a huge reclamation surrounding the Port – all done without following the legally absolute requirement to first undertake an environmental impact study before work can commence.

After the protestors delivered their orations at the Provincial Environmental Agency, the group moved to the DPRD-Bali where they installed their symbolic locks before finally visiting the office of Bali’s Governor.