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While President Joko Widodo was applauded for his remarks at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank (WB) annual meeting in Bali after he compared the global economic situation to the TV series Game of Thrones, protesters outside the meeting venue received a far from warm welcome.
Prior to the event Bali police enforced a blanket ban on all public protests on the island with thousands of security personnel fanning out around key venues in Nusa Dua.
An alternative Peoples’ Global Conference against IMF-WB had to be cancelled after the national police put pressure on venue organisers.
Activist also said police intelligence personnel infiltrated the event planning team as volunteers, subjecting them to intimidation and constant surveillance. Hoax banners of the event carrying logos of terror-linked organisations as co-sponsors also appeared around the planned venue.
And when organisers finally found alternative venue at a hotel in Denpasar, it too was cancelled by the hotel management at the last minute after being told by police that they were not allowed to hold the event.
When participants (including international guests who were only told about the cancelation when they arrived at the venue) tried to hold a rally in front of the hotel lobby, they were forcibly removed by hotel security personnel.
Indonesia’s democracy was indeed very much on display in Bali this week.