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Friday, November 18, 2016

Bersih 5 Rally - 1

Bersih 5 rally

8.30am: Sogo - A FRU team of around 50 are having a briefing in front of Sogo.
Several trucks and a water cannon are seen parked outside the Dang Wangi district police station.
Police have set up road blocks at Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman in front of Sogo to prevent people who wear red or yellow from entering the road.
Sogo is not a gathering point for Bersih or red-shirts and so far only a few people in the yellow Bersih tee shirt are spotted passing by the area.
8.20am: Masjid Negara - A man clad in a fuzzy Pikachu outfit is garnering a lot of attention here as people clamour to take pictures with him.
The man, Abdul Malik Abdul Razak, says he came here with a group of others from Kluang, Johor on a bus today.
"Of course, it's hot (in the outfit).
"I'll bear with it, because we have to rise up," he says, pumping his fist in the air.
He plans to march in the outfit, he adds.
Pikachu is a bright yellow mouse-like creature from the popular franchise Pokemon.
8.15am: PWTC - Police have locked down most entry points to downtown Kuala Lumpur. Naturally, streets are unusually empty in the city.
There does not appear to be people gathering at PWTC, where Umno's headquarters is located. However, one person can be seen selling the reds' T-shirts by the roadside.
Food and shopping as vendors set up shop
7.50am: Masjid Negara - The first order of the day at the national mosque is breakfast.
Vendors selling nasi lemak and other goods have popped up, and are serving Bersih supporters, policemen, and other folks in regular clothes.
There are also a few stalls selling Bersih merchandise.
About two dozen Bersih protesters in yellow are already here among a crowd of over 50 people dressed in regular clothes.
There is heavy security here, and a FRU water cannon and a command truck are parked next to the mosque, although the officers are staying out of sight and resting in their trucks
Similarly, no the red-shirts have been spotted despite pledging to occupy Masjid Negara yesterday.
Bersih supporters fuel up for long day
7.40am: Petaling Street - Plenty of Bersih protestors have arrived in downtown Kuala Lumpur hours before the rally kicks off, as some are concerned about major road closures and fear being unable to enter the city later.
Petaling Street, which saw a heated red-shirts gathering last September, is peaceful and calm.
Rallygoers are seen having breakfast and preparing for a long day.
FRU gear up for crowd control
7.26am: Masjid Jamek LRT, Jln Tun Perak - The federal reserve unit (FRU) team of 50 members is holding a meeting in front of Masjid Jamek LRT station to discuss their duties in dealing with Bersih and reds crowds.
Along the road seven FRU truck with a water cannons are parked.
Police have cordoned off roads at the end of Jalan Perak and Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman and Jalan Raja Laut, barring protesters and journalists from entering Dataran Merdeka.
Over 100 cops stand right in front of the three cordon areas, preventing people from entering Dataran Merdeka.
A LRT staff who passes by says three LRT station around the city centre - Masjid Jamek station, Bandaraya station and Plaza Rakyat station may be closed if chaos (kecoh) erupts.
"But now, the passengers still can take the LRT at these stations," she says.
Calm before the storm as city awakes
7am: Protestors are set to gather at Jalan Bangsar and Masjid Negara. The city wakes up to its normal routine although road blocks are beginning to be set up.
Dataran Merdeka at the junction of Jln Tun Perak and Jln Tunku Abdul Rahman is closed off.
At Bangsar, the road from Jln Maarof to Jln Bangsar has been closed off as Dataran Maybank is one of the Bersih gathering points.
It appears to be business as usual at Petaling Street with the flea market and hawkers setting up for business.
However the arrests of Bersih leaders chairperson Maria Chin Abdullah and secretary Mandeep Singh last night along with a number of politicians is an ominous sign for things to come.
The latest of the total 12 arrested is reds leader Sungai Besar Umno chief Jamal Md Yunos, who was picked up at 1.30am.
Meanwhile Clare Rewcastle-Brown speaks on why Bersih 5 is important:
Showdown between Bersih and reds in the heart of KL looms
Tensions between the red-shirts led by Sungai Besar Umno chief Jamal Md Yunos and Bersih will reach its climax today as both groups take to the streets of Kuala Lumpur.
Bersih is rallying for electoral and democratic reforms, and is calling for the resignation of Prime Minister Najib Razak over the growing 1MDB scandal.
Jamal has vowed to stop the Bersih rally wherever they gather today.
Police have declared both rallies illegal, and a sizeable deployment is expected.
Malaysiakini brings the action live from the ground.

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