January 12, 2013
KL112 at Merdeka Stadium ended peacefully and Congratulations to ALL
by S Retnanathan |www.freemalaysiatoday.com
Many had feared an outbreak of violence from Himpunan Kebangkitan Rakyat but all fears were unfounded and the rally has actually set a benchmark for such future events.
While many had earlier feared that the rally organised by the Opposition front, Pakatan Rakyat – made up of PKR, PAS and DAP – would see the recurrence of violence between Opposition supporters and the Police, their fears were unfounded in the end.
Many had expected the rally to turn ugly following the Bersih 3.0 experience when Bersih, a coalition of non-governmental organisations, demanding free and fair elections, held its rally in the city centre.
The rally then was joined by Opposition leaders and led to bloody clashes between the Federal Reserve Unit personnel and the protesters.
However, today’s rally turned out to be rather “mild”. Opposition supporters were restrained from the word go.They started converging at several locations in the city late last night, parking themselves at mosques, small hotels, houses of relatives and fellow party members. They gathered at eight specified locations around the city as early as 8am fearing police roadblocks and road closures.
But to their surprise there was none. Soon after PAS applied for permits to use Stadium Merdeka for the rally, there was a huge hue and cry that the rally would cause disruption in the city. To the surprise of many, the stadium granted PAS the approval to use the historic stadium, where the country’s independence was first officially proclaimed.
Congrats to the IGP and PDRM
Then came the Police. They held a cordial discussion with the organisers and it turned out well. Even with everything going on fine, there were still some lingering fears that one party would break their promise.
But this did not happen. Both sides held on to their promise. The Police did not use force, and the rally participants followed the set rules.
The Police this time around were on their best behaviour. They cleared the roads for the rally-goers to walk to the stadium from the eight meeting points. They diverted traffic and made it easier for both motorists and participants. There was no sign of the FRU, which is normally used to disperse the crowd.
At the rally itself in the stadium, the speeches were restrained while supporters, made up of at least 80% Malay crowd, were motivated. There were two bomb hoaxes – one at the Kuala Lumpur City Centre and the other at the Bar Council building. But the Police were quick to dispel the rumour with Dang Wangi Police Chief ACP Zainuddin Ahmad holding a press conference immediately after the news broke out.
“It was just a box with some papers inside. There was no explosive device,” he told reporters waiting in anticipation.While the BERSIH rally saw hundreds of arrests, there was virtually no arrest at all at this rally.
All said and done, this rally proves that if two sides are sincere any rally can be organised in Malaysia peacefully. To all parties involved, especially the Police and Political parties, thank you for a job well done!
TV3 Spin on KL112