Jakarta – Hundreds of people staged a protest and destroyed facilities at a tourist spot called Bukit Bintang (hill of stars) in Larangan Badung village, Pamekasan regency on Madura Island, East Java, on Monday.
The mob demanded the tourist spot be shut down, alleging the place to be a location for "sinful activities".
The protest soon turned violent as some people started to damage facilities in the area, including fences and shelter for visitors, with several protesters burning down a hut in the area.
The fire quickly spread to other huts, despite efforts by some people in the area to put out the blaze.
Police and military personnel as well as members of the Pamekasan Public Order Agency (Satpol PP) also failed to extinguish the fire.
In'am Kholil, the coordinator of the protest, said the tourist establishment had caused unrest among the locals for allegedly being a popular spot for "sinful activities".
"Being a tourist spot is only a facade. In reality many locals reported [Bukit Bintang] as a location for sinful activities," In'am said without specifying details on the activities.
He further claimed that activities in Bukit Bintang had also disturbed the learning process in a nearby Islamic boarding school.
Pamekasan Satpol PP's regional regulation enforcement division head Yusuf Wibiseno said the business practices conducted in Bukit Bintang were different from the one written on its permit, which stipulated that the place operated as a food stall.
"The permit and the business practice in the field are different," he said as quoted by kompas.com.
Palelangan police chief Sri Sugiharto said the police had previously tried to bridge the communication between locals who opposed the business and the Bukit Bintang owner, Mustofa, to solve the issue.
"We had held a meeting attended by the owner, locals, stakeholders and personnel from the police and military. We had advised the owner to temporary close the establishment, but he refused," Sugiharto said. (nal)