July 9, 2011
BERSIH2.0 Updates (N0.2) from Malaysiakini
Peter Tosh’s Tribute to BERSIH2.0
Prelude to BERSIH2.0
At least five marches have broke out in Petaling Street, near Dayabumi Complex, Masjid Jamek, Pudu and Sogo and the Police have responded by firing tear gas and water cannons.
Later, the marches have converged near the Puduraya-Menara Maybank area. The crowd is estimated to be 10,000 strong. After several unsuccessful attempts to disperse the crowd, a standoff remains.
Meanwhile, BERSIH 2.0 chief Ambiga Sreenevasan, PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang, Lembah Pantai MP Nurul Izzah Anwar and Batu MP Tian Chua have been arrested.
12.20pm: Pudu Plaza – At Jalan Landak, Pudu, some 200 people have started to gather, preparing for the rally.Police are scattered about, searching the protestors’ bags and belongings without any further action.
A small quarrel breaks out between protestors and Pudu security personnel when they try to chase them away.
Some foodstalls and restaurants are still operating, and a durian stall is seen offering protestors a taste of their wares.
DAP leaders who have shown up include Bukit Bintang MP Fong Kui Lun, PJ Utara MP Tony Pua, Serdang MP Teo Nie Ching, Bukit Bendera MP Liew Chin Tong, Segambut MP Lim Lip Éng, Beruas MP Ngeh Koo Ham, Selangor exco Ean Yong Hian Wah, Lukut Adun Ean Yong Tin Sin, Pasir Pinjir Adun Thomas Soo, Bahau Adun Teo Kok Seong.
12.45pm: Dataran Merdeka – Police have fired tear gas at a group of protestors who are marching towards the area. The tear gas cannisters landed near the Bar Council building.
This group is believed to have marched from the former KTM headquarters nearby. The crowd is estimated at 1,000 people.
12.50pm: About 3,000 to 4,000 people are marching from Petaling Street in downtown Kuala Lumpur to Stadium Negara.
They are chanting “Bersih, Bersih, Pilihanraya” and “Hidup, Hidup, Rakyat”.
Six middle-aged protestors began a rendition of Negaraku, which immediately received a strong response from the crowd, which sing along.
Dr Wong Fort Pin, one of the six singers, said they are celebrating peace. “We are walking for a better Malaysia,” he said.
12.51pm: Hilton Hotel – PKR leaders Nurul Izzah Anwar, Syed Husin Ali, Lateefah Koya arrive in Anwar Ibrahim’s hotel room. Local and foreign media are at the lobby.
12.55pm: Pudu Plaza – DAP leader Teresa Kok(right) is defying her ban and leading protesters to start the march towards Merdeka Stadium.
The crowd is shouting, “Bersih, bersih,” “Hidup rakyat” , “Rakyat sudah bangun,” and “Daulat Tuanku.”
The have at press time reached Shaw Parade, with no sign yet of any police interference.
The crowd soon swells to two thousand, with the DAP-led march cleverly sticking to tourist spots at Sungei Wang and Low Yat Plaza past Federal Hotel to foil police action. They are also sending motorcycle recces to keep them informed of police presence ahead.
1pm: Masjid Jamek – The crowd here has grown to about 1,000 people and the are beginning to march.
Earlier, a student was hit by a tear gas cannister. He refused to have his photograph taken due to his status.
1pm: Pudu-Bukit Bintang – At Jln Puduraya, the DAP-led march of up to 2,000 people reach the city centre, converging with the PKR-led team. The crowd cheers in delight, and chant, “Bersih” and other slogans. They now gather at the Jln Tun Perak and Jln Pudu junction.
1.10pm: Masjid Negara – The mosque is mostly empty. Some are complaining that the toilets are locked.
1.14pm: A fake Twitter account @bersihrally has appeared, apparently created only at 9.42 this morning.
Claiming to provide “live coverage of the BERSIH 2.0 rally, with multiple small groups of volunteers in the field reporting” it has since provided false accounts of the goings-on at the current BERSIH 2.0 rally.
Among some of the allegations are looting in Pasar Seni, clashes with the Police at KLCC as well as shots being fired in Bangsar.
After being ‘outed’ by other Twitter users, @bersihrally finally posted a message: “Took you guys long enough to figure it out. I’ve done my job. Thanks for playing.”
1.15pm: Official police figures – 514 arrested. 478 males, 36 females.
1.20pm: Masjid Jamek – There is a standoff here. The growing crowd continues chanting while the police are awaiting reinforcements.
1.21am: Top Bersih leaders Ambiga Sreenevasan, Haris Ibrahim, Wong Chin Huat and A Samad Said are in Hilton Hotel. They are with politicians William Leong, Kamaruddin Jaafar, Zaid Kamaruddin, Syed Azman Syed Nawawi and Tian Chua. They join Anwar Ibrahim who is in the hotel.
It is confirmed PKR deputy president Azmin Ali has been arrested and was brought to Pulapol (Police Training Centre). Earlier, PAS vice-presidents Mahfuz Omar and Salahuddin Ayub were also arrested.
1.22pm: Petaling Street – The group of a few thousand which is marching to Stadium Negara turn back to Jalan Tan Cheng Lock after encountering a roadblock.
A large group of Sarawakians are chanting ‘Hidup Sarawak’, receiving applause from the rest.
1.30pm: Malaysia Hotel – About 500 UMNO Youth members have gathered at Jalan Bukit Bintang. They are all wearing red T-shirts with the word ‘Patriot’. These T-shirts are also being given out to the public, including tourist.
The UMNO Youth rally is aided with a pickup truck. Speakers would give speeches from the back of the truck and throw down T-shirts.
Among those present are UMNO Youth leaders Arman Azhar, Reezal Merican Naina Merican, Zaki Zahid but there is no sign of the movement’s leader Khairy Jamaluddin. His officers insist he will show up later.
The group is currently stationary and chanting “Hancur Bersih” (destroy Bersih) and “Who are we? Patriot!”. They narrowly miss a BERSIH 2.0 procession by about 10 minutes.
1.30pm: Pudu-Bukit Bintang – The authorities fire tear gas at Jln Tun Perak, forcing the crowd to retreat once, then the angry crowd shouts, “Masuk” (go in) and starts moving toward Jln Tun Perak .
1.33pm: Jalan Tun Perak – PAS leader Dr Hatta Ramli with a loudspeaker tells the crowd of at least 4,000 that party vice-president Mahfuz Omar and about 300 others have been arrested.
“The rakyat’s struggle requires sacrifices… Those under 40 here have never seen real democracy in this country,” he said.
The crowd reply with “Allahuakbar”. There are traffic marshals from BERSIH also directing the crowd to make way for vehicles passing through.
1.35pm: Press statement by IPK KL. Thus far, 540 people have been arrested (479 male, 58 women, three juvenile) have been arrested for further investigation.
Among the arrested, 11 were wearing yellow BERSIH T-shirt and one was wearing a red Patriot T-shirt.
Meanwhile, three individuals believed to be leaders or organisers of the rally were also arrested. They are PAS deputy president Mohamad Sabu, and party veeps Salahuddin Ayub and Mahfuz Omar.
1.36pm: KL Hilton – BERSIH leaders hold a press conference and say they will march to Stadium Merdeka and will not give in to intimidation.
National laureate A Samad Said is also there. S Ambiga says, “the cause of BERSIH has been achieved, even before we have taken the first step.” She said the authorities use of force was useless against the people’s will. “No matter what right will always prevail.”
Slamming the mass arrests, Ambiga said their original goals of rallying for electoral reform has grown into something bigger as it has stirred emotions amongst “right thinking rakyat”.
“First, it has stirred a sense of outrage against the exhibition of raw power by our government, that seems to be living in a time warp. Secondly, it has stirred in us (the desire) to bring back a sense of balance and decency into our government,” she said.
Thirdly, she said the rakyat are beginning to feel empowered to make change, despite Police “intimidation”. “You cannot quell the voices,” she said.
1.38pm: LRT Masjid Jamek – A Police officer with loudhailer announced: “Perhimpunan hari in tak ada kebenaran jadi diminta semua bersurai serta merta atau kami suraikan dengan kekerasan.”
The officer also gave three minutes for the crowd to disperse. This was met with “takbir” and jeers from the crowd, numbering about more than 500 people.
1.40pm: Menara Maybank – Water cannons unleashed on more than 1,000 protestors.
1.43pm: Masjid Jamek – A group of about 10 general duty police officers with gas masks chased after the protesters who ran helter skelter into Masjid India area. [Watch video – 17 sec]
1.44pm: Menara Maybank – Water cannon truck fires at the crowd a second time, this time with chemical laced irritants mixed with blue dye.
Instead of dispersing, the crowd charged forward. Some were seen hitting the water cannon truck with their bare fist.
This was met with another round of tear gas. The tear gas managed to disperse the crowd slowly.
1.52pm: Masjid Jamek – There are at least four police trucks stationed at Masjid Jamek LRT station.
Crowd has been dispersed by Police tear gas for now, but it is expected they will be regrouped later.
1.55pm: It begins raining in Kuala Lumpur.
1.57pm: Malaysia Hotel – Khairy Jamaluddin appears at the UMNO Youth rally and gives out a short speech. He said that BERSIH 2.0 cannot be supported because it is infiltrated by opposition parties.
He then leads the crowd in a march towards Stadium Merdeka. They will likely bump into a section of the BERSIH 2.0 crowd.
1.59pm: Puduraya – Police fired tear gas on an estimated 10,000-strong crowd, which converges in Puduraya, in front of Menara Maybank. Part of the crowd came in from Masjid Jamek while others are from Petaling Street.
Police had to resort to using tear gas after the water cannon failed to stop their advance. People in the crowd appear to be recovering from the tear gas and are coming back together to continue with their march.
2pm: Hilton Hotel – It is still raining cats and dogs outside the hotel and the atmosphere inside is tense as Pakatan leaders prepare to march out into the streets.
Despite the tension, they seem energetic and vowed to carry with their march to Stadium Merdeka once they get past the police barricade already set up outside the hotel waiting for them to emerge.
The Pakatan leaders are surrounded by a gaggle of reporters as they slowly make their way out towards the confrontation with authorities.
2.10pm: Puduraya – The police are increasingly harsh towards protestors. Some are dragged on the road. One protestor was bleeding from the head.
Some police officers were seen punching and pushing protestors who were trying to flee.
In one incident, several protesters were forced to jump off a six-foot high ledge to evade capture.
2.15pm: Bukit Bintang – UMNO Youth’s ‘Patriot’ procession has stalled momentarily.
According to sources within UMNO Youth, the group is waiting for ‘further clearance’ when their desired route to Stadium Merdeka has been blocked by the police.
The group are also waiting for smaller pockets of UMNO Youth supporters to march from Kampung Attap and PWTC.
UMNO Youth leader Arman Azhar is also seen trying to control the crowd from inching ahead. It has started drizzling.
2.15pm: KL Sentral – Pakatan Rakyat and BERSIH leaders are marching towards from the Hilton Hotel towards KL Sentral shouting “Bersih! Bersih!” but are stopped by the Police.
People from inside the station are chanting with the leaders as well. PKR vice-president Tian Chua managed to find a weak spot in the police barricade and led the entire delegation through.
The top leaders are expected to march towards Stadium Merdeka.”The outrageous arrest and mass detentions is most unwarranted especially after the wise advice from the Agong. BERSIH has become more than a struggle for electoral reforms but is now for clean politics and governance,” said Pakatan leader Anwar Ibrahim.
2.18pm: Pudu-Bukit Bintang – As the drizzle starts, the crowds raise their hands and cheer again, and retreat towards Bukit Bintang.
Penang Deputy Chief Minister II P Ramasamy’s political secretary Satees Muniandy reports, “I’m at Jln Pudu. Rain is God’s blessing. The crowd is building up especially under the bridge. Thousands are not leaving despite water cannons, tear gas.”
2.20pm: Puduraya – Police moved in to detain dozens of protesters, with officers going in groups of five to six to detain individual protesters.
Incidences of Police brutality were seen, with officers allegedly punching and shoving detainees. They were also allegedly seen manhandling female detainees.
Some protesters jumped off a six-foot high ledge to evade capture in possibly one of the most dangerous situations of the day so far.
2.25pm: Brickfields – The Pakatan Rakyat and BERSIH 2.0 crowd has managed to emerge from KL Sentral and have entered Jalan Tun Sambanthan where they are met by almost 1,000 supporters.
BERSIH 2.0 chief Ambiga Sreenevasan, Anwar Ibrahim, Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, Lim Kit Siang and other personalities are spotted among the crowd.
While proceeding towards the city centre, they were pelted with tear gas cannisters and chaos ensued. A number of top leaders have been arrested.
2.30pm: Human Rights Watch’s Asia division deputy director Phil Robertson says, “This is a maelstrom of the Malaysian authorities’ own making. The failure of the top levels of the Malaysian government to engage in good faith dialogue with citizens demanding basic electoral reforms is the heart of the matter,” he says in a statement, blasting continuing police action against the rallyers.
2.30pm: Puduraya – The 10,000-strong crowd led by PAS leader Dr Hatta Ramli and PKR leader Badrul Hisham Shaharin has regrouped and move towards town centre.
However, the Police fire yet another round of tear gas to disperse the crowd.’
2.35pm: Bukit Bintang – The UMNO Youth group have stopped in front of Royale Bintang Hotel where they are walking towards another Bersih group at the Jalan Pudu-Bukit Bintang intersection.
2.40pm: Puduraya – The crowd here is breaking up into smaller groups. They are believed to be taking separate routes towards Stadium Merdeka.
2.41pm: PDRM Facebook: As of 2pm, 644 arrested – 597 males and 47 females.
2.43pm: KL Sentral – Pandemonium breaks out at KL Sentral as police fire tear gas in a closed environment as BERSIH 2.0 and opposition leaders attempted to exit the station via Brickfields.
The tear gas forced protesters back into the station, which has been locked down. Journalists outside KL Sentral were barred from entering the station, making it difficult to verify the status of the situation.
It was however confirmed that a group of Pakatan leaders and individuals were arrested in the chaos, including Batu MP Tian Chua, Pantai Dalam MP Nurul Izzah Anwar, Kuala Selangor MP Dzukefly Ahmad, artist Wong Hoy Cheong, PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang’s son and three other supporters.
2.45pm: KL Sentral – Anwar Ibrahim tweets that he has suffered a minor injury and that his two daugthers – Nurul Izzah and Nurul Hana – has been arrested during the melee.
BERSIH 2.0 chief Ambiga Sreenevasan confirms that she has been arrested.
2.48pm: Puduraya – The crowd disperses into Tung Shing Hospital and a nearby Chinese school. Police are firing tear gas into the hospital in attempts to disperse the protestors.
There is brief respite as Subang MP R Sivarasa tries to negotiate with the Police to allow protestors to move back to Masjid Negara.
2.50pm: KL Sentral – PKR vice-president N Surendran told Malaysiakini Anwar is bleeding from the head and injured in one of his knees.
2.52pm: Puduraya – At Jln Hang Jebat near Stadium Merdeka, 3,000 Bersih supporters are gathered here attempting to move over to Stadium Merdeka nearby.
They meet a blockade with barbed wire. The crowd, growing by the minute, groups i front of the cops and chant at them. Led by PAS election director Hatta Ramli and PKR Johor chief Chua Jui Meng, the crowd calls for the police to remove the barricades to no avail.
The two leaders give a short speech each telling the crowd they have accomplished their mission in arriving at the stadium, despite being unable to enter. They thank the police and tell the crowd to return to Central Market.
2.55pm: Bukit Bintang – There’s a standstill between the UMNO Youth’s Patriot rally and the FRU with neither side budging.
About three arrests were made when UMNO Youth tried to break through the FRU line, breaking out into a scuffle before a tear gas canister was fired.
2.57pm: Bukit Bintang – UMNO Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin has been arrested when he was found to be resting and clearing his eyes from the tear gas fired, at a shack just 100m from the FRU line.
Water cannons and tear gas have also been fired at the remaining UMNO Youth supporters, pushing them back 50m from where they originally were. The group has thinned out to about 200 people.
3.10pm: PDRM Facebook – The total number of people arrested as of 2.30pm has reached 672.
3.15pm: Pudu – Police have agreed to give safe passage to the thousands of protesters assembled at Pudu up till Jalan Sultan on condition that they only use half of the road and march peacefully.
The accord was met after Pakatan parliamentarians R Sivarasa and Ngeh Khoo Ham negotiated with the Police, who also decided to allow the crowd to chant as they march.