Protestors Demand Halt to Intl Park Project

DENPASAR

Students and environmental activists protested in front of the Bali governor’s office on Wednesday against the controversial Bali International Park (BIP) project in Jimbaran.

The park – a luxury complex of villas and support facilities intended to house delegates to 2013’s Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit – has already faced other protests from farmers currently living on the construction site in Jimbaran, and controversy over the land licensing of the construction company.

Wednesday’s protests were led by activists from the Indonesian Environment Forum (Walhi) and students’ group Frontier. They staged a theatrical performance to highlight their concerns, stating that the BIP project was a violation of Governor I Made Mangku Pastika’s moratorium on new hotel projects in south Bali, as the housing is intended to be put to commercial tourism use after the APEC conference.

Abdul Haris, chairman of Frontier, said that the project would marginalise local farmers and place a strain on Bali’s infrastructure.

“The construction of the BIP contradicts the moratorium. The governor has shown inconsistency by approving the project,” he said; “Bali already has adequate facilities for a convention, so why should they build a new one?”

Singer JRX of local punk band Superman Is Dead joined protestors and performed a song for their benefit.

Meanwhile, Bali government spokesman Ketut Teneng said the US$280-million project was essential to ensure that the APEC summit would be a success. He stressed that the hotel moratorium did not apply to the project.

“This project is also approved by a presidential decree,” he said.

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