G20 summit: Bali wants to keep up appearances

Status: 11/14/2022 8:46 AM

The Indonesian government hopes for more attention and more tourists from the G20 summit. Environmentalists, on the other hand, fear the consequences for nature and climate. But there will be hardly any protests – the police and the army will take care of it.

By Jennifer Johnston, Studio of ARD Singapore

Surf instructor Yande sits in the sand and looks out over the sea and military boats. In addition, airliners and private jets from government leaders from all over the world land here. The Balinese are happy that such an important event as the G20 summit takes place on their island.

“It’s very good for tourism. The government has cleaned up everything for the G20 summit, the streets, the beach. It looks better than ever – everything for the G20,” says Yande.

Bali wants to show its best side. President Joko Widodo hopes that the summit will attract more tourists again. Because the economy depends on tourists, and they have been slow to return since the Covid pandemic.

“More traffic, more flights, more waste”

Dian Paramita is also on the beach, but she is quite critical about it: more tourists also means more car traffic, more flights and more waste. Bali is already struggling with flooding. When she goes surfing on the beach, she often has to fight her way through floating debris.

“Pamper-sized waste to ant-sized waste. I imagine the fish accidentally eat the plastic and we in turn eat the fish,” says Paramita.

Protest event canceled again

She is a member of the international climate protection organization 350.org. In the run-up to the G20 summit, Paramita hosted an event at a nearby hotel. But after several calls from the police, she canceled it again.

“Just doing an art workshop, a discussion, a talk show is forbidden for us,” says Paramita. “It’s very disappointing. They take away our right to express ourselves, to express our opinion. Only the elite speak about our lives. It’s very unfair.” She hardly expects protests, not even from abroad.

“It is not safe for foreigners to protest against the Indonesian government,” explains Paramita. “They can come here, work or enjoy their holidays. But don’t protest. That’s Indonesia. If they protest against the G20, they’ll just be expelled.”

30,000 guards for the top

Police and military are on every street corner. More than 30,000 security forces must protect the G20 summit. In addition, more than 2000 new cameras have been installed. They flash white when you drive past them, they recognize license plates and faces, among other things.

Bali Police spokesman Stefanus Satake Bayu stands in the command center – in front of screens that cover the entire wall. “The cameras are looking at the street, the hotels of the heads of state, the port, the airport and even the bus stations,” he explains.

Residents must stay at home

The people of Bali should stay at home during the peak days so that the situation on the roads remains clear. Just like in Corona times, it means for them: home office and home education. They don’t get into the heavily secured area around the top hotels anyway.

If there are local demonstrations despite the ban, there is already a plan for this: “We centralize the protests after Renon, which is a long way from the top,” says Bayu.

In addition, religious festivals are banned and many shops have to close. They were so looking forward to the guests from all over the world.

G20 summit: holiday paradise becomes high-security wing

Jennifer Johnston, ARD Singapore, currently Bali, Nov 14, 2022 7:46 am

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