Thu, Oct 13, 2005 - Page 5 News List

Bali mourners defiant on grim anniversary

AGENCIES , BALI AND KEROBOKAN, INDONESIA

A Balinese man shouts slogans during a demonstration at Bali's local parliament in Denpasar, Indonesia, yesterday. Three years after the 2002 Bali nightclub bombings, about 100 people staged the protest demanding the immediate execution of three militants sentenced to death for their roles in the attack.

PHOTO: AP

Survivors and relatives of those killed in the 2002 Bali nightclub bombings gathered at the site of the attacks yesterday to remember the 202 people killed and to send a defiant message to the al-Qaeda-linked terrorists who allegedly carried them out.

Security was tight across the Indonesian resort island, where just 11 days ago suspected Islamic militants carried out a second series of attacks on crowded restaurants, killing 23 people, including the three suicide bombers.

Snipers were deployed on buildings and thousands of police were stationed at beaches, resorts and lanes leading to the ceremony at the heart of the island's famous Kuta tourist district.

Around 200 people -- many of them tourists dressed in shorts, flip-flops and baseball caps -- turned out for the early morning service next to a granite memorial stone engraved with the names of the 202 people who died in the Oct. 12 attacks.

Among those attending was Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer, whose nation lost 88 citizens in the bombings. Four Australians were also among the victims in this month's blasts.

"I know the passing of three years ... does not make gathering here any easier for many of you -- and our hearts are all the heavier following the heinous attacks of just over a week ago," he said.

But it was important to take a determined stance against terrorists, he said, noting that Australia had been working with Indonesian law enforcement agencies to hunt down the perpetrators of violence.

"Rather than drive us apart, these terrible acts of terror continue to bring our countries and our peoples closer together. Our enduring friendship will be the eventual demise of the terrorism menace," he said.

Those at the service observed 202 seconds of silence in memory of the victims and bowed their heads as an Australian man who lost his son in the attack read out a prayer. They then filed past the memorial, laying wreaths or dropping petals in the pond in front of it.

"It's important to keep remembering those we lost," said Australian Natalie Juniardi, whose husband John was killed in the blasts. She was three-and-a-half months pregnant when the attacks occurred, and now cares for that child and the couple's older one alone.

"It is hard but we are still here. My kids keep me going and put a smile on my face, but after the last bombing it has been tough," she said.

JAIL BREAK-IN

Meanwhile, some 500 protesters demanding execution of three militants on death row over the 2002 blasts broke into a jail yesterday where the inmates had been held until the previous day, witnesses said.

Wearing traditional Balinese headbands and sarongs, some protesters climbed over the outer fence of the Kerobokan prison, while others knocked down a steel door into the jail.

Witnesses said protesters were in front of the access door to the main cells, shouting "Kill Amrozi! Kill! Kill! Kill!" and "We have been waiting for three years."

Citing security concerns, authorities moved the three on death row -- Imam Samudra, Amrozi and his brother Mukhlas, also known as Ali Gufron, to a prison island off Java on Tuesday.

A number of other convicted Bali bombers are still present in the jail.

As the anniversary has approached and in the wake of the latest attacks, anger among ordinary Balinese has grown at the impact the violence will again have on their vital tourism industry.

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