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Indonesians rally, dance to protest anti-porn bill PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 12 October 2008

Reuters, Denpasar, Indonesia - Several thousand Indonesians from across the archipelago held a rally in Bali on Saturday to oppose a controversial anti-pornography bill that parliament may vote on next week.

The protesters, who came from Papua, North Sulawesi, Yogyakarta on Java island and Bali, carried a 230-meter (750 ft) long Indonesian flag and performed traditional dances.
 
"The bill will threaten national unity. We must keep struggling to reject the passing of the bill," said Gusti Kanjeng Ratu Hemas, who is the wife of the sultan of Yogyakarta, a royal province in Java and a center for art in Indonesia.
 
The anti-smut bill, which aims to shield the young from pornographic material and lewd acts, is being pushed by a small group of Islamist parties in predominantly Muslim, but officially secular, Indonesia.
 
The plan has been condemned by minority groups in the country, including Balinese, who are Hindu, as well as Christians, and some tribal groups who favor near nudity as traditional attire.
 
Lawmakers have so far stopped short of passing the bill, which has been discussed for about three years and watered down from its original form after concerns that it could be misused against minority groups.
 
Critics are also worried it could pit Muslim hardliners against Muslim moderates and minority faiths such as Hindus and Christians, violating the plural traditions of Indonesia.

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