Indonesians rally against anti- porn bill

Around 1,000 people gathered on Bali


About 1,000 people protested against Indonesia's anti-pornography bill on the resort island of Bali on Tuesday, prompting the local governor to vow he would ask the president to drop the controversial legislation.

The protesters -- who wore traditional Balinese sarongs and headdresses, and carried banners with the words "Anti-porn bill no, Indonesia yes" -- marched to Governor Made Mangku Pastika's office in Denpasar.

The anti-porn bill is being pushed by a small group of Islamist parties in predominantly Muslim, but officially secular, Indonesia.

But it has been condemned by some of the country's minorities including the Balinese, who are Hindu, as well as Christians, and some tribal groups who favor near nudity as traditional attire.

Critics say that the exceptions to the bill for sexually explicit cultural and artistic material are too vague, and that by allowing civil organizations to play a role in preventing pornography, this could open the door for vigilante groups to take the law into their own hands.

Balinese art incorporates nudity and sexually explicit images, while in the eastern province of Papua some tribal men wear just penis gourds.

Legislators have so far stopped short of passing the bill, which has been discussed for about three years, because critics say it would threaten Indonesia's tradition of tolerance and diversity.

Some parliament members were hoping that the anti-smut bill would be approved this month, but the bill was postponed again last week.