Tears, anger as Bali marks 2002 blasts anniversary


  • World
  • Wednesday, 12 Oct 2005

By Tomi Soetjipto

KUTA, Indonesia (Reuters) - Survivors and relatives of victims of the 2002 blasts on Indonesia's Bali mourned their lost loved ones on the third anniversary of the attacks on Wednesday, just days after suicide bombings inflicted more pain. 

About 400 Indonesians and foreigners paid their respects at a monument near Kuta Beach, where the names of the 202 dead are etched in stone near two nightclubs that Islamic militants linked to al Qaeda blew up three years ago. 

A woman cries at the Bali memorial during a commemoration ceremony marking the 2002 nightclub bombings in Kuta, on the Indonesian resort island of Bali October 12, 2005. (REUTERS/Darren Whiteside)

Amid tight security, family members placed flowers at the base of the granite memorial. Some wept. 

"The horrific attack in Bali was committed by people who preached a twisted ideology of hate ... an ideology which is opposed to all religions," Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said in a speech. 

Most of the dead were tourists, including 88 Australians. 

Natalie Juniardi, from Sydney, lost her Indonesian husband while she was three months pregnant with her second son. 

"We're still here, we are still surviving. It's hard but my kids keep me going. They put a smile on my face. But after the last bombing, it's been hard," said Juniardi, who owns a surf shop in Kuta and has seen her sales plummet since the latest attacks on Oct. 1 that killed 20 people and wounded 150. 

Authorities blamed Jemaah Islamiah, seen as the regional arm of Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda, for the 2002 blasts. Suspicion has also fallen on Jemaah Islamiah or a splinter group for three suicide bombings at crowded restaurants on Oct. 1. 

Juniardi echoed the pleas of many Balinese who want three militants on death row over the 2002 blasts to be executed quickly. Citing security concerns, police moved them to a prison island off Java on Tuesday as their appeals draw to a close. 

"We all want them to go as soon as possible, so we can get on with our lives, and not worry about them," Juniardi said as her two young sons played nearby. 

Bali is a Hindu enclave in overwhelmingly Islamic Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim nation. 

Armed with rifles, hundreds of police mingled with the crowd at the memorial just across from where a car bomb destroyed the packed Sari Club three years ago, incinerating the surrounding area. A second bomb destroyed another nightclub across the road. 

Many of the foreigners were relatives of Australian victims and they and relatives of victims from Indonesia and other nations wore white T-shirts and white headbands. 

The occasion was marked by 202 seconds of silence to honour the dead from 20 nations. Hundreds of shops along packed Legian street -- a haven for backpackers -- closed for the day out of respect for ceremonies that will run until midnight. 

POLICE JOIN FORCES 

In Australia, wreathes were laid at a memorial garden at Parliament House in Canberra. 

Building on the strong cooperation that helped track down many of those behind the 2002 blasts, Downer said Australian and Indonesian police had joined forces again. 

Four Australians were among the dead in the attacks on Oct. 1. The others were 15 Indonesians and one Japanese. 

"There has been further attack, further grief ... Again our two police forces are working day and night to track down the perpetrators," Downer said. 

Indonesian police said on Tuesday they had made their first arrest over the latest attack, picking up a man believed to have shared a house in Bali with one of the bombers. 

Authorities have arrested and convicted some 30 militants over the 2002 blasts. Several key suspects remain at large. 

In Canberra, one survivor of the latest blasts was defiant. 

"The important thing is not to let it defeat us, that we have to stand together and just keep battling because it's not a war we are going to win anytime soon, if ever," Joe Frost, a 20-year-old student, said after the Canberra memorial service. 

(Additional reporting by Michelle Nichols in Canberra) 

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