BALI, Indonesia – Survivors and relatives of those killed in the 2002 Bali (search) nightclub bombings gathered at the site of the attacks Wednesday to remember the 202 people killed and to send a defiant message to the Al Qaeda (search)-linked terrorists who allegedly carried them out.
Snipers were deployed on buildings and thousands of troops were stationed at beaches, resorts and businesses close to the site in the heart of the tourist district where militants blew up two packed nightclubs on Oct. 12, 2002.
Fewer than 200 people turned out on Wednesday — many of them tourists dressed in shorts, flip-flops and baseball caps — in part because of tensions following the suicide bombings just 11 days ago.
The site of the 2002 attacks is a short walk away from one of the three cafes targeted Oct. 1 by the bombers in blasts that killed 23 people, including the three attackers, and wounded more than 100 others.
Among those attending Wednesday's ceremony was Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer (search), whose nation lost 88 citizens in the 2002 attacks.
"Rather than drive us apart, these terrible acts of terror continue to bring our countries and our peoples closer together," he said at a ceremony attended by Indonesian officials, including Bali police chief I Made Mangku Pastika (search).
The Al Qaeda-linked militant group Jemaah Islamiyah (search) is accused in both sets of bombings, as well as two other deadly strikes in Indonesia in the last two years.
On Tuesday, police confirmed the arrest of a man who allegedly shared a rented house with the homocide bombers involved in this month's attacks. But on Wednesday, police played down the arrest. Pastika said the 45-year-old construction worker was "a zero, not even a small fish."
Police said last weekend they were close to arresting the suspected masterminds of the attacks and Southeast Asia's most-sought fugitives — Malaysians Noordin Mohamed Top (search) and Azahari bin Husin (search).
But so far the two alleged leaders of Jemaah Islamiyah remain on the run and foreign governments have warned the pair — who are wanted in connection with every major attack in Indonesia since 2002 — could be poised to strike again.
Several rallies have been held in recent days calling for the three militants sentenced to death for the 2002 bombings to be executed soon.
In the Australian coastal city of Newcastle (search), the home town of three of the four Australians killed in the most recent bombings, federal lawmakers gathered Wednesday with survivors of the attacks and families of victims at a memorial garden at Parliament House.
Joseph Frost, a 20-year-old student from Newcastle University who lost family friends and suffered burst eardrums in the Oct. 1 blasts, said he wanted to show solidarity with the victims of the 2002 attacks and their families.
"The important thing is not to let it defeat us, that we have to stand together and just keep battling because it's not a war that we're going to win any time soon if ever," he said.
"We just can't let it get us down; we just have to keep standing strong," he added.