Friday October 12, 2012
Ceremony for 10th anniversary of Bali bombings begins
JIMBARAN, Indonesia: An emotionally charged ceremony marking a decade since the Bali bombings killed 202 people got under way Friday with hundreds of survivors and relatives of the dead in attendance.
In poignant opening remarks to black-suited mourners, chaplain Ian Whitley paid tribute to the dead, among them 88 Australians, saying "we are united against terrorism and refuse to be intimidated even when confronted by great loss".
Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard led a list of dignitaries set to speak at the memorial including Christian, Hindu and Muslim religious leaders and families of those killed when suicide bombers struck two nightspots on the resort island on October 12, 2002.
Under sunny skies, the ceremony in a large cultural park heard moving tributes from families of the victims. Thirty-eight of the dead were from Indonesia, which was stunned by the atrocity on the resort island.
Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa said his country was committed to fighting extremism so that "humanity prevails over hatred".
"The terrorists sought not only to kill and maim, their attack was nothing less than an assault on humanity," he said.
The ceremony was being held under the watch of 2,000 police and military personnel, including snipers, after Indonesia issued its top alert due to a "credible" terror threat to the island - which was also hit by deadly bombs in 2005.
The strike against the Sari Club and Paddy's Bar by the Al-Qaeda-linked group Jemaah Islamiyah came one year after the 9/11 attacks on the United States.
Indonesia has the world's biggest Muslim population and won praise for its response to the bombings, and was also lauded for its actions after the 2005 attacks, which saw a suicide blast kill 20 people on the island. - AFP