FROM HARIS IBRAHIM'S THE PEOPLE'S PARLIAMENT:
We are here, not because we are law-breakers;
we are here in our efforts to become law-makers
– Emmeline Pankhurst
August 3, 2009
Malaysianinsider reports that, following upon the anti-ISA rally on Saturday, Minister Nazri Aziz said that ‘As long as Barisan Nasional is leading the government, the ISA will not be abolished’.
Well, Nazri, some 5,000 of those who rallied and who were able to make their way to the PAS headquarters at Jalan Raja Laut had this to say to you and your colleagues :
Hidup Rakyat! Mansuhkan ISA! Mampoi BN!
Again and again they chanted this, even as the call came from the Pakatan leaders assembled just outside the PAS HQ for the rally participants to disperse.
Hidup Rakyat! Mansuhkan ISA! Mampoi BN!
And if you think this was a PAS crowd, Nazri, I’d urge you to take a closer look at the photos here and the numerous other blogs that are carrying the news of yesterday’s people power gathering.
Yes, Nazri, as long as BN is in government!
Get your boss to call for a fresh general election a month from now if you dare!
Nanda was going to take up an initial position at the Masjid Jamek station whlist several others and I were going to head to Sogo.
At 9.51am yesterday, got the following sms from Nanda :
Cops assembled in the parking lot in front of central market
Nanda sent the following sms at 10.08am :
Road in front of bangunan Sultan Abdul Samad blocked. SBs around with video cameras.Spotted some PAS people.
At 10.14am, Nanda sent the following :
Cops n SB around asjid Jamek area. Spotted at least 1 truck.
Lil Hummingbird alerted me of the following at 10.18am :
Heli flying overhead @ sogo
Nanda sms’d again at 10.58am :
Arrest at Masjid Jamek. A guy. Cops asked him to open his bag n found t-shirts. I think its unit amal t-shirts
Lil Hummingbird sent this sms at 11.59am :
People being arrested near sogo
At 1.23pm, Nanda sent the following :
Pasar Seni more arrests. Masjid Jamek effectively dispersed I would say
Nanda sent this at 1.29pm :
Reporters are saying they’ll also be moving to Sogo shortly. Masjid Jamek effectively shut down id say
Lil Hummingbird sent this sms at 1.38pm :
Checking ID n contents of bags for related materials n arresting at Nat Mosque
This sms from Nanda at 1.39pm :
Cops standing by in front of Masjid Jamek waiting for people to come out after prayers
Angel, Danny, Teh and I arrived at Sogo at almost 1.45pm. This is the state that we found awaiting us.
Nanda sent in this sms at 1.57pm :
They charged they beat up they arrest. Tear gas fired
I called Norlaila of GMI, who I was to meet at Sogo. She told me that she had been arrested and was being held in a FRU truck in Cheras.
Then a sudden flurry of activity on the side of Sogo where the side road linked to Raja Laut at the back.
It only dawned on some of us later that this move by this group of ladies might have been intended to draw away attention to what was to be the first push by many of those at Sogo to begin the march to the Istana.
The rally, for those at Sogo, it seemed, had started.
The cops quickly moved in.
The first move to get to the palace was brought to a halt.
For a while, confusion seemed to set in.
Then, suddenly, without any sound of gun fire, tear gas filled the stretch of Jalan TAR where we were.
Danny later said he suspected that this tergassing was probably done by a plant. Plausible.
Doesn’t matter how may times you’ve been hit by tear gas, you just never get used to it.
Your throat singes, and your eyes burn.
Ordinary folk started to share rock salt and water with the many who, it seems, came unprepared.
Najib, if you chance to read this, this is our version of 1Malaysia, something you and your cabinet will probably never, ever understand.
Then the brute force kicked in.
And then arrests.
And just as some of us started to feel as if, like Masjid Jamek, the crowd at Sogo, too, had been beaten by the cops, a second push to get to the istana took off.
Strangely, though, upon reaching Coliseum, they stopped and, after a while, started back in the direction of Sogo.
Baffled, I asked a pakcik why. He replied that someone in the crowd had given instructions to do so.
My immediate concern was whether this was the work of a plant.
I needn’t have worried.
As this group headed back in the direction of Sogo, another large group, seemingly appearing from nowhere, and also starting from Coliseum, also started to move in the direction of Sogo.
At some point, the two groups merged.
And from this merged group, leadership emerged.
Lil hummingbird sent this in at 2.18pm :
Anil reports big time confusion for police now. Thousands instead of moving to Istana r now face to face with police at Jln TAR
The crowd continued in the direction of Sogo.
What was going on? Wasn’t the istana the destination?
Word slowly filtered back.
Destination ‘Istana’ aborted.
The crowd now negotiated into that part of Jalan Dang Wangi that leads into Jalan Raja Laut, whilst the police there could only watch helplessly.
The crowd was now feted to fiery speeches and were told that the rally would not be proceeding to the istana.
It was now about 2.30pm.
Amal unit boys readied the crowd to turn into Raja Laut in the direction of Dataran Merdeka.
to face sheer brute force.
Without any prior warning to disperse, they went to work.
Then it was time to unleash the teargas.
The crowd dispersed.
At 2.42pm, a commentator to this blog sms’d me :
This is historic. Bersih’s not the record any more
I caught up with Danny. We’d heard that the order was out to arrest the Unit Amal boys.
We saw it first hand as we headed back to Sogo.
At 3.05pm Nanda sms’d this : In front of pejabat Agung PAS
Nanda again at 3.07pm : Anwar on his way.Road is blocked, bus also stuck
Danny and I caught up with Angel on Jalan TAR and decided to head out to the PAS HQ.
Nanda at 3.24 : Anwar, Hadi etc juz arived in front of PAS HQ
We reached the HQ about 3.30pm, just in time to catch the tailend of DSAI’s speech.
Lil Hummingbird sent this in at 3.25pm : Sivarasa just arrested at Sogo
My estimate of the crowd at Sogo : 10,000 – 15,000
However, it was not so much the size of the crowd that got to me.
Firstly, the number of youth who turned up and were passionate about the issue. This was encouraging.
And contrary to what I had expected, this was not a predominantly PAS crowd. It was a good mix.
I spoke to some of the youth in the crowd.
This was one Malay youth’s response, which typified the views of the others I spoke to.
“Tak boleh buat tak tahu lagilah, bang. Kerajaan zalim. BN dah tak boleh caya, dah”.
This was a response from a young Chinese lady.
“If we don’t want the ISA, we have to fight, lah. Who else is going to fight for us?”.
There is hope yet for our nation.