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Friday, July 30, 2021

Rally organisers explain why people must join protest


The organisers of the ‘Keluar dan #Lawan’ rally expect more than 1,000 participants to attend the protest at Dataran Merdeka tomorrow.

PETALING JAYA: The continuous harassment of activists by the authorities has made it imperative that more people join the “Keluar dan #Lawan” rally slated for tomorrow, said the organisers.

Qyira Yusri, co-founder of Undi18, which is part of rally organiser Sekretariat Solidariti Rakyat (SSR), said the protest served as the “last resort” for Malaysians to voice out their concerns and demands against the government.

“I think Malaysians have no avenues left to voice out their concerns except to protest on the streets.

“We have done online campaigns, social media hashtags and more, but clearly, politicians aren’t listening nor do they care,” she told FMT.

Qyira noted that ever since SSR promoted physical protests, more participants and activists who supported the cause were harassed by the authorities.

“You see countless youth activists being harassed and intimidated by the authorities. I think this is a clear indicator that the government is insecure about its position and is trying to suppress voices.”

SSR had organised several small protests previously, including the “Black Flag” protest at Dataran Merdeka on July 17 and the vehicle convoy on July 24 as a lead-up to the bigger “Keluar dan #Lawan” rally planned for tomorrow.

It was reported that the organisers, as well as protestors, were called up by police, with the organiser compounded for violating Article 10 of the Regulations and Control of Infectious Diseases (Measures in Local Areas of Infection) (National Recovery Plan) 2021 that prohibits assemblies.

The organisers — Tharma Pillai, Afiq Adib and Muhammad Alshatri — were also called in for questioning at the Dang Wangi police headquarters over Saturday’s “Keluar dan #Lawan” protest at Dataran Merdeka.

An activist linked to the #Lawan movement was also among the latest called in by police.

Sarah Irdina Mohamad Ariff, the founder of youth-based group Misi Solidariti, was released from custody about 1am today after being questioned for 10 hours over allegations of sedition and improper use of network facilities.

Asked if the protest was scheduled for this time because of the recent uproar in Parliament over the revocation of the emergency ordinances, Qyira said the timing was entirely incidental.

“To be honest, I think we definitely would have arrived at this Parliament fiasco sooner or later. This is the manifestation of a failed government and how it has let its internal issues affect governance.

“I think the people must refuse to accept this failure and push to demand for better accountability from our elected representatives on both sides of the political aisle.”

On expectations for the rally, she said SSR targeted over 1,000 participants from various backgrounds.

“I predict some of the challenges we’ll face is ensuring participants will be safe and protected during the protest. So we’re emphasising that anyone attending the protest should listen to the instructions from the marshals and make sure to approach them for any support.”

One protester, who wished to remain anonymous, said he joined the protest to demand for a functioning democracy and that those who have failed the people to step down.

“It’s not a partisan move in favour of any political party, but an assertion of the rights and powers of the rakyat. To me, it doesn’t matter who steps up as PM after this; just that they know that they can be pressured to resign if they fail the rakyat again.” - FMT

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