Olympic torch relay in KL
I was there when the relay started at Dataran Merdeka and I was there yet again to witness the torch relay on Jalan P. Ramlee under the heavy rain.
It started quite angrily for me. I had wanted to protest peacefully with no intention to disrupt the relay. Along with me was a camera and a placard with the word “liberty” written on it. Volunteers from China were not happy and forcefully took my placard away after physically harassing me. And so, I found out the hard way how violent these volunteers were. I’ve already described my experience at KL for a Free Tibet (and photos of another protester being harassed by the abrasive volunteers from China; my words there are harsh because I don’t take coercive kindly) and so, I shall refrain from retelling the story here.
But more photos are in order.
I caught a glimpse of the flame. First was at the Dataran Merdaka:
Security was really tight. Apparently, the security personnel were there to protect PRC volunteers, not the Malaysian citizens or everybody at large. While pro-Beijing people were allowed to display their political placards, those sympathetic to Tibet were not. In fact, when the peaceful pro-Tibet protesters were assaulted by the PRC volunteers/thugs, the police arrested the pro-Tibet protesters, not the ones committing the assault. The police did nothing to stop the pro-Beijing thugs from harassing those that disagree with PRC’s policies.
I shouted FREE TIBET when the Torch passed in front of my and was quickly grabbed from behind by a volunteer from the PRC. Mind you, not by a Malaysian police officer but a PRC volunteer instead. I pushed him back and made a complaint to an officer: the officer did nothing however but thanks the heaven that the PRC thug walked off, probably thinking that he might get himself in trouble if he continued to apply force against me in front of police officers, however timid these officers were against these PRC nationals.
Once the Torch left the Dataran Merdeka, I went straight to the Petronas Twin Towers to get another corru board to make a brand new placard just like the one robbed from me by the PRC volunteers.
The previous banner was like this, only prettier since I had time to do it properly:
This one took me less than 10 minutes to complete. That board is about the size of an A3 paper.
It rained after that but the Torch runner went on regardless.
This guy went off the bus to wait from the runner with a lit torch.
Notice the police presence. This must be the most protested Olympics in recent memory.
There were isolated small protests and all of them were forcefully suppressed by PRC volunteers with unsanctioned coercion power. Your truly was one of the victims and he got himself cited in an article in a local daily:
Another scuffle also ensued before the run in Dataran Merdeka when a group of Chinese national students took away a banner emblazoned with the word “Liberty” from a 24-year-old woman known only as Gek.
It was learnt that the group hit Gek’s head at least three times and chanted “One world, one dream, one China”.
The situation was defused when another woman calmed the members down and told them not to create trouble.
It was revealed later that the banner did not belong to Gek, but to Hafiz Noor Shams, 26, who said he came to the torch relay “to witness things”.
Asked on his intentions in bringing such a banner, Hafiz said that it was only a one-word banner.
“But they are free to interpret however they like,” he said, admitting that he was pro-Tibet. [Minor hiccups and a handful of arrests during run. The Star. April 22 2008]
I don’t like like how The Star reported the news. Like what Marina said to me through IM, it is as if I admitted to a crime. But after all, The Star is owned by a local political party, MCA after all. The Star was heavily biased but the recent election was a kick in the groin for them.
In any case, exercising liberty is not a crime. Harassment is.
Others whom plan to protest at other cities should be careful when these PRC volunteers are around. They have no qualm about using force to silent you. These volunteers which lived under suppressed society (Malaysians are suppressed too but at least, we are fighting back) have developed fascist culture of suppression where diversity of opinion are not acceptable. They know nothing about free speech or peaceful expression.
Protest peacefully though. Let teach them a leason or two about the real meaning of peace.