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Saturday, November 19, 2016

Yellow, red rallies end peacefully

In the run-up to the Nov 19 rallies, there was much drama. On the eve before Bersih and the red-shirts took to the streets of Kuala Lumpur, there were a slew of arrests.
This evening, both rallies ended on a peaceful note with no untoward incidents reported.
At its peak, the Bersih 5 rally attracted some 40,000 participants compared to the red-shirts' 4,000.
Bersih's five demands were:
  1. Clean elections
  2. Clean government
  3. Strengthen parliamentary democracy
  4. Right to dissent
  5. Empowering Sabah and Sarawak
While the Bersih 5 rally witnessed a respectable turnout, it fell short of the staggering turnout in its previous rallies.
The red-shirts protest was more disappointing since the turnout paled in comparison to last year, where an estimated 45,000 took part.
The heavy police presence and barricades managed to keep both the rival groups apart.

Malaysiakini brings the action live from the ground.

Activist Fahmi Reza detained
6.40pm: KLCC - Police detain activist Fahmi Reza soon after the rally ended. According to his Facebook post, he is being taken to the Kuala Lumpur police contingent headquarters.

IGP praises police for maintaining peace and order
6.30pm: Inspector-general of police Khalid Abu Bakar praises the police for maintaining peace and order during the Bersih 5, and red-shirts’ rallies.
He conveys the message via a tweet this evening.
Meanwhile, Bersih, in a tweet, thank the police for ensuring the safety of all participants.

Curtain falls on Bersih 5
5.30pm: KLCC - The rain sees the Bersih 5 rally ending before 6pm, with participants slipping on their raincoats and opening their umbrellas.
After singing Negaraku, most of them leave the venue.

Dr M: We’re not like Jamal, who cried after being punched
5.20pm: Jalan Ampang, between KLCC and Wisma Equity - Dr Mahathir Mohamad stresses that Bersih participants are here for peace, unlike red-shirts leader Jamal Md Yunos.
"We are not Jamal, who got punched in the nose and cried...," he says.
He also expresses gratitude to the participants, who were willing to turn up despite the current situation.
"We no longer live under democracy, but a kleptocracy - a nation ruled by thieves," he claims.
Also present was Mahathir’s wife, Dr Siti Hasmah Ali.
Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) president Muhyiddin Yasin urges the people to vote for change in the coming election to put an end to BN and Umno.
"Our future, is for everyone. It is not for me, I am old, but you are young...," he says.

‘Abang, pose a bit’ - Bersih participants snap photos of FRU man
5.15pm: Masjid Jamek - As Bersih 5 reaches its conclusion, participants here take the opportunity to snap photos of an FRU personnel standing atop one of the vehicles.
He leans forward with a smile, propping himself up with his arms and occasionally, flashing the peace sign.
"Abang, pose a bit," asks a participant, and the police personnel strikes a pose.

Najib won’t sleep well tonight, says Rafizi
5.05pm: KLCC - Several opposition leaders use a bus stop as a stage to address the crowd.
PKR vice-president Rafizi Ramli says Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak will not sleep well tonight, knowing so many people want him to step down.
He also speaks regarding the government’s debts and other matters.

Kit Siang: Dr M won’t be PM again
5pm: KLCC - DAP veteran Lim Kit Siang says the rally gives him hope that Malaysia can be saved.
"We not only want clean elections, we want to save Malaysia.
"We want Malaysia to be a democracy not a kleptocracy. Gathering here is symbolic - we want to reach for the sky," he adds.
Lim says he believes Mahathir will not become prime minister again while he himself has never harboured such hope.
"What we are thinking about is the fate of the future generation. We don't want to be like Zimbabwe, a kleptocracy or Argentina - a failed state," he adds.
Lauding the young participants, Selangor Menteri Besar Azmin Ali says there is nothing wrong with a peaceful assembly.
"We are not thieves or killers. We are peace-loving people.
"The young and the old including Dr Mahathir are here today to tolak (Prime Minister) Najib (Abdul Razak) and Umno," he says.

Crowd swells to 40k at KLCC
5pm: KLCC -  The Bersih crowd around KLCC grows to around 40,000.
A sea of yellow enveloped Jalan Ampang stretching from the office of Lembaga Getah Malaysia to the Malaysia Tourism Centre.
However, some Bersih supporters appear to be leaving as the sky darkens and thunder is heard.
Speeches are still ongoing but former prime minister Mahathir is still stuck in the middle of the crowd. The event is only expected to end at 6pm.

We stopped them from entering Dataran, red-shirts declare victory
4.40pm: Red-shirts Youth leader Zainuri Zainal declares victory for the movement's counter-rally.
According to Nanyang Siang Pau, Zainuri says the red-shirts succeeded in its objective to prevent Bersih from entering Dataran Merdeka.
"We achieved our goal when the Bersih leaders moved to KLCC," he says.
Police cordoned off Dataran Merdeka and kept it off limits to all. Due to this, some Bersih supporters were cut off on Jalan Travers.
Many later joined up with the main group at Masjid Jamek by taking a detour through Brickfields.
Bersih organisers later announced that they would move to KLCC, prompting most protesters to take the LRT.

Dr M arrives at KLCC riding in the back of a 4WD
4.30pm: Jalan Ampang, between Wisma Equity and KLCC - Dr Mahathir Mohammad arrives riding in the cargo bay of a four-wheel drive truck.
Accompanying him are Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) president Muhyiddin Yasin, his son Muhkriz, Amanah deputy president Salahuddin Ayub and Pakatan Harapan secretariat chief Saifuddin Abdullah.
The crowd welcomes the 91-year-old ex-premier with a thunderous cheer, chanting “Tangkap MO1" and “Tangkap KBAB”.
MO1 refers to Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak, who is said to be the “Malaysian Official 1" mentioned in the United States Department of Justice civil suits related to 1MDB whereas “KBAB” refers to inspector-general of police Khalid Abu Bakar’s twitter handle.

Trains pack to the brim with Bersih protesters
4.30pm - KLCC LRT station: The LRT station here is exceptionally busy today as Bersih protesters arrive and depart the station.
Trains heading in the direction of the Masjid Jamek from KLCC as well as those arriving from that direction are packed to the brim with Bersih supporters and a handful of other passengers.
"Exit to the left! Exit to the left!" shouts one RapidKL staff at arriving passengers in a bid to clear the highly congested platform.
"Move to the next door! Move to the next door! Don't go in if it's already full!" another shouts, as he tries to pack passengers into a departing train.
The tunnel leading from the station to the Suria KLCC shopping mall is also packed with two-way foot traffic, slowing the pace to a crawl and making for a hot, stuffy experience.

Report: Umno Youth exco Armand arrested
Police arrest Umno Youth exco Armand Azha Abu Hanifah, who is one of the red-shirts leader, reported Berita Harian.
Armand gets arrested at Padang Merbok, whereas Lee is picked up at NU Sentral in Brickfields.

‘Step to prove hate for MO1' banner appears
4.30pm: Kuala Lumpur - A banner is unfurled earlier along a road in the area calling on protesters to stamp their “hatred” for “MO1" by stepping on it.
The poster, featuring a silhouette image, had the words “Please step to prove that we are (sic) Malaysians hate #MO1" at the bottom.
MO1 refers to “Malaysian Official 1" mentioned in the US Department of Justice civil suits concerning 1MDB.
A minister later said MO1 is Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak, but he is not being investigated.
During the last Bersih rally, participants were criticised for stomping on images of Najib and PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang as well as for performing mock funeral rituals.

Zuraida: M'sians happy when Jamal got punched
4.30pm: KLCC - PKR lawmaker Zuraida Kamaruddin manages to entertain the crowd by citing the case of red-shirts leader Jamal Md Yunos who suffered a nose bleed last week.
Malaysians, she says, were happy on that day as he was punched.
"Who punched Jamal?" she asks, to the answer of "police" from the crowd.
Commenting on the absence of Jamal today, Zuraida says the other red-shirts have also run away.
Bersih participants were definitely entertained with the mention of Jamal, as they clap and cheer while listening to Zuraida speak.
The boisterous crowd however turn silent when the azan (call for prayer) was called.
They are expected to rest for a short period of time for Asar prayers.

Bersih Shanghai concludes rally despite haze
4.25pm: Shanghai, China - Bersih Shanghai successfully concludes its Bersih 5 solidarity event, with about 100 Malaysians in attendance.
Despite heavy haze in Shanghai today, the participants say that just as the haze will subside, so will Malaysia's troubles if Malaysians continue to fight for change.
They share their thoughts and read out Maria Chin's message from detention, expressing their love for their beloved country, despite being away in a foreign land.
Shanghai is one of the 65 cities worldwide, part of the Global Bersih network, to hold the Bersih 5 overseas solidarity event.
About 8,000 Malaysians currently residing in Shanghai, with many of them being highly skilled professionals.

Is the gov't fair, asks Mat Sabu
4.25pm: KLCC - Condemning the arrest of Bersih chairperson Maria Chin Abdullah, Amanah president Mohamad Sabu says the former has never mentioned about toppling the government.
"She only mentioned about changing the government through elections. Suddenly she is detained under Sosma.
"Is the government fair?" he asks, to loud 'no' from the crowd.
Mohamad also claims that the crowd at Bangsar in the afternoon was at least half of the size of the crowd here.
"There are so many people here today. Millions of Malaysians," he claims.

Crowd estimate hits 30k at KLCC
4.20pm: KLCC - Bersih supporters fill the carpark at the iconic twin towers to the brim, with the crowd spilling into Jalan Ampang and nearby areas.
The group which marched from Masjid Jamek also arrives at KLCC with more coming via LRT. The total number at present is estimated to be around 30,000.
At Jalan Tun Perak, there are still some 1,000 Bersih supporters, mostly comprising student activists.
The crowd at the back continue to pour in, but they cannot hear the leaders' speech.
Some are forced to turn back as the clouds become dark but others sit on the floor and chant slogans.
Most of them seem to be in high spirit despite being at the rally for six hours.
Meanwhile, the remaining red-shirts at Jalan Raja Laut have left.

Bersih supporters make pit stop at 4D outlets
3.50pm: Jalan Tun Perak - Part of the Bersih 5 crowd from Jalan Travers heads down Jalan Tun Perak towards KLCC, chanting "Hidup Bersih!".
To arrive at KLCC, they will have to go through Jalan Rakyat, Brickfields using Jalan Pudu to head to Jalan Tun Tan Siew Sin.
Along the way, some participants take the opportunity to visit 4D outlets along Jalan Tun HS Lee.

Student activist: We'll never surrender
3.45pm: Masjid Jamek - Student activist Asheeq Ali fires up the crowd gathering along Jalan Tun Perak.
Asheeq, who is serving a one semester suspension from Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, says the students successfully rallied the crowd from Bangsar, Petaling Street and Central Market.
"You arrest Anis and you think we will surrender? Never!" he says in reference to the pre-Bersih 5 arrests of student activists Anis Syafiqah Md Yusof and Luqman Nul Hakim

Join red-shirts rally, but snap photos with Bersih supporters
3.40pm: Bandaraya LRT station, Jalan Raja Laut - Several individuals clad in red from BN component MyPPP pose for photos with Bersih supporters.
Selangor MyPPP Youth chief Melvyn D'cruz claims around 3,000 party members joined the red-shirts rally.
"We are here because we are against Bersih. They claim elections are not clean but then how can the opposition win Selangor, Penang, Kelantan and Perak at one point?" he asks.
He adds MyPPP members joined the rally in their own personal capacity.
Asked about posing with Bersih supporters for photos, Federal Territories MyPPP Youth chief Meshach JV says the group has no problems with those who support Bersih.

More than 20k converge at KLCC, more coming
3.30pm: Kuala Lumpur - Large number of Bersih protesters converge in front of the Petronas Twin Towers, KLCC along Jalan Ampang.
Following instructions from Bersih, supporters gather in droves in front of KLCC, many taking the LRT.
Their numbers quickly grew to over 20,000.
Meanwhile, a small group of around 3,000 choose to march from Masjid Jamek, which will take more than 30 minutes.
Another 2,000 Bersih supporters are still loitering at Jalan Tun Perak. This brings the total Bersih crowd to over 25,000.
The red-shirts have mostly dispersed but around 300 still along Jalan Raja Laut.

Police break up yellow, red stare down
3.30pm: Sogo - Police order some 30 Bersih supporters locked in a stare down with red-shirts further up the road along Jalan Raja Laut to leave.
Police order the Bersih supporters to back up and go to Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman. The crowd complies amid chants of “Bersih”.
Down the road at the Bandaraya LRT station, police maintain a watchful eye ensuring that there are no clashes between passing red-shirts and Bersih supporters.

Barua! Red-shirts taunt Bersih supporters
3pm: Jalan Raja Laut - Some 300 red-shirts gather at the street near Pertama Complex and Sogo Shopping Centre, likely a splinter group from Padang Merbok crowd.
Some of them carry placards with the words "Merah ready to fight".
About 30 police personnel keep watch, while FRU water cannon trucks move into position at Jalan Dang Wangi, Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman and Jalan Raja Laut.
The red-shirts also taunt Bersih participants, calling out "Barua!" amidst their usual "Hidup Merah!" and "Merah" chants.

Petaling Street turns yellow
2.45pm: Petaling Street - The iconic street turns yellow as some 1,000 Bersih 5 participants converge at the area to have their lunch, giving brisk business to the many food and drink stalls in the area.

Dr M praises ‘high turnout’, says it is not about race
2.35pm: Dataran Maybank- Dr Mahathir Mohamad commends the "high turnout" for the Bersih 5 rally.
"There are so many participants but the government is cowardly, likes to prevent demonstrations which is the right of the people, we have it in the constitution," he points out.
Asked if the rally is Chinese-dominated, Mahathir says there is no question about race.
"Everyone is concerned about the government we have here now," he adds.
On the turnout appearing to be poorer than the last rally, he says: "We keep on doing something [...] the government is using the police to prevent people from having a peaceful rally."
Commenting on the police blockade, Mahathir admits they are doing their duty.
"But we are doing this peacefully. There shouldn't be blockades. This is what we say undermining democracy, it's not Bersih who is undermining democracy," he says.
[Click here to read full report]

Bersih crowd more than 16k, red-shirts start to dwindle
2.30pm: Kuala Lumpur - Bersih supporters are finally converging at the same place after being separated at several points earlier.
Bersih supporters from Masjid Negara marched to Masjid Jamek, joining up with the crowd at Jalan Tun Perak.
Meanwhile, the crowd at Jalan Travers, which was cut off by police, turned back. They then entered Brickfields to get to Central Market and then to Masjid Jamek.
The overall crowd is more than 15,000 with more pouring in from nearby LRT and KTM stations.
There are also around 1,000 Bersih supporters having lunch along Jalan Sultan and the surrounding area.
Meanwhile, the red-shirts which numbered more than 4,000 at noon have dwindled to around 100 at Padang Merbok.
Police who allowed them into Padang Merbok now refuse to let them out through the Dataran Merdeka exit.
The frustrated red-shirts use an alternative route and return to Jalan Raja Laut. There are some 300 red-shirts loitering on Jalan Raja Laut.

DPM says more red and yellow will be arrested
2.25pm: Bagan Datoh (Perak) - Police have identified several individuals related to the Bersih and red-shirts rallies, says Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.
Zahid, who is also home minister, says the police will arrest them before they are charged in court.
However, he declines to reveal the identities of those on the list.
"The issue of unfairness on the part of the police does not arise since the authorities have taken action against the main leaders of the two groups.
"The arrest of the leaders is a signal from the police that the law must be respected although the rallies continue.
"There is no issue of abuse of power because those arrested do not come from one side. More will be arrested," he adds.

Reds at Padang Merbok dissipate
2.20pm: Padang Merbok - The number of reds at Padang Merbok are dwindling as groups in turns leave the field.
Although there is some tension earlier when a group of five reds want to go out past the police barricade, tensions ease after they back down.
Red-shirts participants are now walking from Padang Merbok via Jalan Tun Ismail and Jalan Sultan Sulaiman towards the Bank Negara commuter station possibly to head home or relocate.

Reds: Jamal, Ampang duo get four-day remand
2.17pm: Ampang - At the Ampang Magistrate's Court red-shirts leader Jamal Md Yunos has been given a four-day remand order.
He is being remanded along with two others who are also remanded for four days to facilitate investigations into the incident at Ampang point.
According to legal adviser Mohd Imran Tamrin they are being brought to the Shah Alam detention centre.
They are being investigated under section 147 of the Penal Code for rioting, section 186 for obstruction of a public officer and under Section 353.
All three are represented by Mohd Nasir Yusof and Khairul Anuar Kashim.

Maria placed under Sosma, nabbed 9 remanded
2.15pm: Bersih chairperson Maria Chin Abdullah has been detained under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012.
In a text message to Malaysiakini, inspector-general of police Khalid Abu Bakar confirmed this.
[Click here to read full report]
The other nine detained yesterday have been given two days' remand at the hearing this morning.
As for Jamal Md Yunos, he appears at Ampang Magistrate's Court at 2pm.
Meanwhile, according to Bersih's official Twitter, Pasir Pinji assemblyperson Howard Lee has been arrested and brought to Kuala Lumpur police contingent headquarters.

Kit Siang and Guan Eng hoof it to Dataran
2pm: KL Sentral - Hundreds of Bersih rally-goers are spotted in the city's public transport hub cum shopping mall in Brickfields.
They are looking for lunch and taking a break before continuing their trek to Dataran Merdeka.
Meanwhile, DAP leaders, including Lim Kit Siang and Lim Guan Eng are walking from Jalan Tun Sambathan towards the iconic square.

Bersih breaks for prayers
13.30pm: Jalan Travers Bangsar - Muslim Bersih participants take a break for zohor prayers. A volunteer intones the azan and requests for the crowds to make space for prayers.
Spreading newspapers on the floor in place of mats, roughly 50 Muslim participants conduct their afternoon prayers.


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