DENPASAR (AFP) – Hundreds of mourners and survivors commemorated yesterday the 20th anniversary of the bombings that killed more than 200 people on the Indonesian resort island of Bali.
Grieving families, attack survivors and representatives from several embassies attended memorial services in Bali – where Al-Qaeda-linked militants detonated bombs at nightlife venues in 2002 – and Australia.
“It’s okay that some people have forgotten what happened 20 years ago but there are still real victims, there are children who lost their parents in the bombing,” said one of the organisers of the memorial Thiolina Marpaung, who was left with permanent eye injuries in the attack.
“I don’t want them to be forgotten,” the 47-year-old told AFP.
Hundreds gathered for a mass prayer at a monument for victims built metres from the site of the blasts to mark Southeast Asia’s deadliest terrorist attack and remember the 202 victims.
Most were foreign holidaymakers from more than 20 countries but Australia suffered the biggest loss, with 88 dead.
“It’s just sad for everybody. Everybody that is up there. We just come to pay our respects,” Australian tourist Nole Porter told AFP.
A candlelight vigil organised by victims’ relatives was held at the monument later in the evening.
Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese told a memorial service in Sydney yesterday that the horror of the bombings was swiftly countered by incredible acts of self-sacrifice and bravery.
“They sought to create terror, but people ran towards the terror to do what they could for friends and strangers alike,” he told a crowd gathered under light rain at the city’s Coogee Beach.
During the memorial, 88 doves were released – one for each Australian killed.