Security in Bali is tighter than it has ever been. With 14 warships stations in Balinese waters and over 18,000 security officers supporting Operation Grand Castle, it is safe to say that the island is on high alert. It has been confirmed that two Chinese nationals have been arrested on suspicions of planning a protest at the event.
Though naturally, the security operation focuses heavily on Bali’s borders, security operations have been heightened across Indonesia, especially at international airports like Soekarno-Hatta International.
The Directorate General of Immigration has confirmed the arrest of two Chinese nationals who are now known by their initials, HCC and YX. The two men were arrested in Jakarta after arriving late on Friday, 11th November, before they were due to travel onwards to Denpasar. The Acting Director General of Immigration, Widodo Ekatjahjan, confirmed the arrests on Saturday in a statement to the media.
He said, ‘It’s true. I have received reports from the Director of Intelligence and the Director of Wasdakim that there are two Chinese citizens who are planning to hold a demonstration during the G20 implementation”.
Ekatjahjan explained that immigration officials found evidence on the travelers that they were planning provocation efforts to mobilize a protest in Bali. Ekatjahjan continued, “Immediately at that time, I ordered that anticipatory steps be taken for security and inspections were carried out in accordance with the provisions of the legislation, and immediately coordinated with the Chinese Embassy and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs”.
Ekatjahjan said, “Violations to immigration are that they carry out inappropriate activities or violate their residence permits and carry out provocations to invite demonstrations at the G20 event. I have ordered the Wasdakim Director to take firm and humane action and be carried out in accordance with the provisions of the legislation and to coordinate with the relevant Ministries/Agencies and representatives”.
It has been confirmed that one of the men holds a Limited Stay Visa for work in Indonesia, so carrying out any kind of political activity breaks his visa conditions. The pair were arrested because they were breaking immigration rules.
This is the first arrest made by security forces for a potential protest against the G20. Indonesia has come under scrutiny from human rights organizations for its approach to free speech and protest. Security Officials working on Operation Grand Castle, the code name for the security effort in Bali, are clearly being proactive in their approach.
Russia’s President Vladimir Putin has backtracked on his decision to attend the summit. The Russian Army General Sergei Lavrov told the press late last week that Putin was fearful of, at worst, an assignation attempt at the event and at the very least, an attempt at public humiliation by the west.
With this in mind, Lavrov is attending the G20 on behalf of Putin. Yet, in the last few hours, there are reports that Lavrov has been taken to hospital with a heart condition just hours after touching down in Denpasar. However, Russia has been swift to deny these reports citing them as ‘fake news’.
Tourists are reminded that there are a great number of operational changes happening in Bali this week. From road diversions to tourist attractions closing to the presence of armed officers on the streets, tourists in the south of Bali will undoubtedly encounter the G20 Bubble in one way or another.
Officials in Bali announced last week that they are increasing surveillance of tourist activity on the island to help stamp out bad behavior. Police and other security forces are increasingly proactive, and tourists are encouraged to be on their best behavior, especially on nights out in Bali, especially during the G20.
Since much of the activity for the event is focused around Nusa Dua and the airport, travelers are encouraged to avoid Nusa Dua for the next week or to expect delays and disruptions. Although traffic management systems are in place, tourists are advised to add extra time to their journeys in the south of Bali until the 18th of November due to G20-related traffic changes.
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