Metblogs reporting on Bersih rally

Okay.

I felt bad that KL Metblogs lacks photos of the Bersih rally despite the fact that I was there. Here is the chance for me to redeem myself before everything goes haywire as Sunday succumbs to Monday, when work overwhelms any other interests.

Here at Metblogs, there was a comment that tried to spread disinformation, claiming the rally had been postponed due to the absence of the King. I withheld that comments and only published them after the rally took place, hoping to limit the effect of the disinformation. According to others, the same SMS was widely distributed among the city folks as well as those from outside the city. Several versions are known to exist but most amusing was this: the King sent the SMS himself. LOL!

A number of photos taken from my blog (of before and during the rally) have been posted in Metroblogging Kuala Lumpur group at Flickr. I won’t repost the same photos here and since I managed nearly 300 shots, I plan to share other photos. Well, okay, some of the photos will be repeated due to the fact that it complements the story but I promise, most photos here have not been published elsewhere on the internet.

Some rights reserved. By Mohd Hafiz Noor Shams. Creative Commons, by attribution 3.0

The first shot describes the scene just outside the Masjid Jamek station. Situation appeared normal…

Some rights reserved. By Mohd Hafiz Noor Shams. Creative Commons, by attribution 3.0

…and people could be seen walking merrily, minding their own business…

… and it would indeed be normal if it wasn’t for the large riot police presence. Yes, the police knew about the large rally that demanded for free and fair election.

Some rights reserved. By Mohd Hafiz Noor Shams. Creative Commons, by attribution 3.0

CCTVs are everywhere in KL and so, if one wants to protest without revealing one’s identity, one needs to wear a burqa or something to that effect. Or just a mask.

Some rights reserved. By Mohd Hafiz Noor Shams. Creative Commons, by attribution 3.0

I was a few hours early — I reached the area at around 11:00 while the rally was supposed to start at 15:00 — and it rained for the longest time.

Some rights reserved. By Mohd Hafiz Noor Shams. Creative Commons, by attribution 3.0

Officers taking shelter from the rain under a train viaduct. That was in the middle of the road.

Some rights reserved. By Mohd Hafiz Noor Shams. Creative Commons, by attribution 3.0

Oh shit, they spotted me. No civilian was supposed to enter Dataran Merdeka and I was in there. So, RUN!

People was supposed to rally at Dataran Merdeka but the government had declared the rally as illegal assembly. The Prime Minister himself had threatened the public against participating in the rally. But he, being the Prime Minister that he is, not known for his resoluteness, very unlike the previous PM Mahathir, was ignored. The PM blinked…

There were minor clashes at Masjid Jamek as the crowd demanded entry into Dataran Merdeka before moving to Istana Negara. After tear gas and water cannon were fired, the crowd decided skip Dataran Merdeka.

Some rights reserved. By Mohd Hafiz Noor Shams. Creative Commons, by attribution 3.0

Several more hours, the game was on. The rain didn’t deter the rally participants from marching for several miles toward the National Palace (Istana Negara).

Some rights reserved. By Mohd Hafiz Noor Shams. Creative Commons, by attribution 3.0

The police watched on.

Some rights reserved. By Mohd Hafiz Noor Shams. Creative Commons, by attribution 3.0

March!

Some rights reserved. By Mohd Hafiz Noor Shams. Creative Commons, by attribution 3.0

I overheard one member of the riot police said, something to this effect, “OMG! Look at the size of the rally!”

Some rights reserved. By Mohd Hafiz Noor Shams. Creative Commons, by attribution 3.0

This is at Masjid Negara (National Mosque). I reached here late and most people were already on their way to the palace. But the riot police unit was still there.

Some rights reserved. By Mohd Hafiz Noor Shams. Creative Commons, by attribution 3.0

More people from other direction. Notice the traffic?

Some rights reserved. By Mohd Hafiz Noor Shams. Creative Commons, by attribution 3.0

The people gathered. Just in front is the palace.

Some rights reserved. By Mohd Hafiz Noor Shams. Creative Commons, by attribution 3.0

The police prevented the crowd from going forward any farther.

Some rights reserved. By Mohd Hafiz Noor Shams. Creative Commons, by attribution 3.0

Okay, okay. I’m going.

Some rights reserved. By Mohd Hafiz Noor Shams. Creative Commons, by attribution 3.0

This is the largest show of civil society since the demonstration of 1998. Reports put the figure between 10,000 to 40,000 people. The mainstream media said it was a mere 4,000. In a country where the government controls the media, international and alternative local sources are more reliable than that of the local mainstream media.

Some rights reserved. By Mohd Hafiz Noor Shams. Creative Commons, by attribution 3.0

Photographers from various news agencies climbed up the gantry to get a good view of the rally.

Some rights reserved. By Mohd Hafiz Noor Shams. Creative Commons, by attribution 3.0

Meanwhile, behind the palace gate…

Some rights reserved. By Mohd Hafiz Noor Shams. Creative Commons, by attribution 3.0

The calvary on standby. If things had gone wrong, while I support freedom of assembly (I personally don’t support the act of getting the monarch into the mess; I am a republican but I do realize the role of pragmatism), I would get out of the way of the horses. Live to fight for another day, I say!

Some rights reserved. By Mohd Hafiz Noor Shams. Creative Commons, by attribution 3.0

Another shot of the crowd. There is a glow to the picture; the rainwater affected my lens. Don’t worry, the camera is alright and working marvelously fine.

Some rights reserved. By Mohd Hafiz Noor Shams. Creative Commons, by attribution 3.0

Once the rally was done, the crowd dispersed peacefully.

Some rights reserved. By Mohd Hafiz Noor Shams. Creative Commons, by attribution 3.0

As the crowd dispersed, it caused massive traffic congestion. Some drivers were clueless of what was going on. Some were cursing. And some honked loudly to express their support of the rally.

Some rights reserved. By Mohd Hafiz Noor Shams. Creative Commons, by attribution 3.0

The FRU was stuck in traffic. Too late brother. The rally has already ended.

Some rights reserved. By Mohd Hafiz Noor Shams. Creative Commons, by attribution 3.0

Finally, the end of the day.

8 Comments so far

  1. bakaq a.k.a. ~penarik beca (unregistered) on November 11th, 2007 @ 11:45 pm

    Please go to Malaysiakita for photos links. Scroll down to “Historic Moments” below the blue ad. Thank you.


  2. Angela (unregistered) on November 12th, 2007 @ 9:09 am

    great commentary and photos! some of the FRU members looked like they’d rather be elsewhere, too.


  3. Caroline Chong (unregistered) on November 12th, 2007 @ 3:37 pm

    Serves them (the police arm forces) right!!! Or else they take people power for granted. They thought people power are useless. Try to kill 100,000 Malaysians like what Burmese Junta Army and Chinese Communist Party in China did to the pro-democracy protesters back in Myanmar and China. You will see what will US and other economy superpowers do to us!!! Eventually Malays will be the ultimate victims that suffer the most. Malays think they are smart, “prince of the land”!!! Once they leave Malaysia they will be treated like bullshit!!! SImply because they don’t know and reluctant to follow and accept what is genuinely happened in the real world and other countries. Malaysia BOLEH!!! RASUAH DAN KRONISMA JAUH LAGI BOLEH!!! CORRUPTIONS AND CRONISM ARE FAY WAY BOLEH!!!


  4. PENG (unregistered) on November 12th, 2007 @ 6:13 pm

    Thanks for the great pictures.


  5. MalayMan (unregistered) on November 12th, 2007 @ 7:28 pm

    Thanks Angela;

    I am all for this kind of Rally, So that we can have a better Malaysia. but with your kind of comment,…it really make me think twice.

    Demoracy with hatred among each other?… we better off become communist … everybody is equal… nope.


  6. maximum madness (unregistered) on November 12th, 2007 @ 8:11 pm

    To Dear Angela,

    You must be a real nut thinking that the MCAs and GERAKANs does not practice nepotism, cronyism and most of all bribery! Mesti ada duit mau buat manyak duit lo!!


  7. macanhitam (unregistered) on November 14th, 2007 @ 11:25 am

    Kudos for the news!


  8. eva (unregistered) on November 14th, 2007 @ 7:43 pm

    hey…cool pics…thanks for posting it hafiz



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