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Thursday, August 30, 2012

Vuvuzela cacophony at Dataran Merdeka



The Merdeka Day eve countdown this year at Dataran Merdeka will see two activist groups join revellers, but the police are adamant they be kept at bay.

Gabungan Janji, a coalition of 47 NGOs, wants to converge at the northern-most point of Dataran Merdeka in yellow to pressure the government to fulfil its promises of electoral reform.

Another group aims to hold a short demonstration along Jalan Sultan to pressure the government to preserve heritage buildings earmarked to make way for the MRT project.

The crowd at Jalan Sultan are expected to join Gabungan Janji at about 10pm.


9pm - Dataran Merdeka - People is begin to trickle in, gathering in front of the iconic Sultan Abdul Samad building. There is a slight drizzle, possibly keeping others at bay.

Ironically, a Kuala Lumpur City Hall sign at both ends ofthe Sultan Abdul Samad building reads: "This area is closed to all activity".
jalan sultan merdeka eve story9.05pm - Jalan Sultan - A crowd is building up near the Gospel Hall Church. Speakers advocating for the preservation of buildings along Jalan Sultan are addressing supporters.
9.15pm - Jalan Sultan - Led by a lion dance troupe including two ‘lions’ and drums, the procession along Jalan Sultan has kicked off and there appears to be no attempts by the police to stop them.
Instead, a few dozen police and People’s Volunteer Corps (Rela) personnel helped to direct traffic.
NONE9.30pm - Shah Alam - Some 500 people are trickling into Dataran Kemerdekaan for the Selangor state government Merdeka Day eve event.

9.40pm
 - Dataran Merdeka - The number of revellers are swelling at Dataran Merdeka. Another group is seen near the Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman-Jalan Tun Perak junction trumpeting away on their vuvuzelas.
9.45pm - Jalan Sultan - The crowd has now swelled to about 1,000 people. They chanted “Save Jalan Sultan” along the procession and formed a 500m human chain in single file from Lok Ann Hotel to the site of the former Klang Bus Station which was recently demolished.
After reading their declaration again and singing Negaraku, organisers announced the end of the event and asked everyone to disperse.

However, many lingered on as the crowd dispersed slowly. Even as of 10pm, many are still on the streets with crowds spontaneously breaking into songs such as ‘Rasa Sayang’, or shouting for others to go to Dataran Merdeka.
NONE10.30pm - Dataran Merdeka - There are easily a few thousand people on or near the field now. The Gabungan Janji crowd is estimated to be about 1,000 people with more coming in from Jalan Sultan. 

More vuvuzelas are seen among the pro-Bersih crowd.
10.45pm - Dataran Merdeka - An estimated 5,000 people are in Dataran Merdeka for the Federal Government organised countdown.
A stone's throw away, a multi-ethnic crowd of thousands more in yellow shirts are gathered near the northern-most police cordon and are trumpeting away on their vuvuzelas.
[More to follow]

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