Sunday, 2 August 2009

Abused By Your Own Protectors; Minding The Minders

Yesterday was the 1st August Anti-ISA street rally. After being at the scene for the BERSIH and other rallies, I was rather ambivalent about taking a first hand look this time around. This time BN was trying another counter-strategy; a parallel counter-rally at the same day, time and venues. Quoting the Star Paper:

"The anti-ISA movement, Gerakan Mansuhkan ISA (GMI) or the “Abolish the ISA Movement,” plans to have 100,000 people march to the Istana Negara to hand over a memorandum urging the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong to dissolve the Act.

Meanwhile, the pro-ISA group known as Pembela Negara Federation of Non-Governmental Organisations Council (Magaran), which claims it comprises 56 NGOs with over 100,000 members, plans a counter-rally to hand the Agong a memorandum supporting the ISA.

Other pro-ISA groups that have threatened similar action are Majlis Pemuafakatan Ummah (Pewaris) and Persatuan Pribumi Perkasa (Perkasa)."

My decision was made by my doubt about the Pro-ISA guys; they would not be able to gather in any significant numbers. How true it proved to be.

I also decided that JJ was old enough to accompany me and see for himself events that are shaping the destiny of his country.

We started out at 12.45 pm and parked at Bukit Jalil Star LRT station knowing the roads in KL would be jammed pack till late evening. One of our intentions was also to have lunch at Pudu's famous roast pork place, Restoran Wong Kee.

Normally the roast pork which is sold from 12.30 pm onwards would be sold out by about 1.30 pm. I was sure this time it would not be because I know the Chinese, especially typical Malaysian Chinese who will not be in KL in great numbers because of fear and inherent self-centered nature. There was still lots of "siew yoke" left at almost 2.00 pm!

Having great experience of rather dubious distinction in street rallies, I knew there would be time a plenty to catch the "action". Also, I had planned to not start at the beginning of the rally but to wait around the usual convergence area in the vicinity of Jalan Sultan Sulaiman (Kampung Attap area).

After lunch we took a monorail to Maharajalela Station and ended up at the Takaful Malaysia building. There was heavy FRU presence but the area was quiet; too early. We then made our way to Dayabumi by cutting through Chinatown knowing that the crowd would likely march along Jalan Kinabalu if the Selangor Club route was blocked.

At the Pasar Seni area we followed a group of obviously PAS supporters to Dayabumi. We managed a nice chat while hanging around the "Globe" at Dayabumi when the FRU who had taken up position nearby on Jalan Kinabalu, began lobbing tear gas at us! There were not even that many of us gathered there.

JJ who was taking photos (our photos do not show the vast crowds because we were overly optimistic the crowds would reach where we were) was emotionally affected by the sight of two very young Malay boys crying because of the tear gas. They had obviously accompanied their parents sightseeing at Dayabumi! The police were too aggressive this time around and used tear gas at the sight of even small pockets of people. If only their anticipation is as sharp when it comes to catching real criminals!

Chased away from Dayabumi, we did not want to move away from that area so we walked towards the Federal Highway via the Pos Malaysia podium block at Dayabumi. On the way we met another observer; a woman in high-heels! Must have planned to use her stilts as a weapon. I forgot her name but she followed us; said she was enroute to LA to become an actress...

We ended up "behind enemy lines" surrounded by police units guarding the Kampung Attap area. We also met up with some PAS supporters at Jalan Kampung Attap near the famous fish head curry place and had a good chat about Manek Urai and PAS religious convictions as opposed to UMNO greed and decadence.

Before long the FRU arrived and marched towards us. Most of those gathered there began to move away. JJ was dressed in a dark colored T-shirt (rally organizers had told participants to wear red or black) and I did not want to risk him being hauled up so we did the opposite and stood our ground. When the FRU squad came near I asked the officer for permission to be there; he ignored me but did not bother us too. We probably did not look like active participants because they did arrest a few there.

We decided to move away from Kampung Attap as the area was almost deserted apart from the police and we met blogger D'Nightcaller who told us that a bunch of bloggers were holed up at the Selangor Club. We proceeded with Nightcaller to the RSC which was quite a walk away and met up with Bernard, Gus, Boom and some of the other Fishermen's Wharf gang. They told us the police had fired tear gas into the RSC premises too and that the main body of protesters comprising thousands were being contained by the police who blocked both ends of TAR road and were firing tear gas and using water canons on the "trapped" masses near Sogo.

Hats off to our wonderful men in our protectors you make yourselves proud!


Yap said...

Thanks for your interesting briefing. Keep it up.

Anonymous said...

The bolehland govt is very fearful of the Rakyat. Very fearful. The vicious response on 1 Aug 09 was testimony of this fear.

If only the Rakyat are aware of this.

SkyHorse said...

Let's end the draconian BN led gorment in the 13th GE, PR must work harder to shape themselves to be ready to take over. Even if they don't, the people will still favor their votes to PR. Thanks to the continuous ignorant, egoistic and corrupted BN led gorment.

Anonymous said...

Very nice pictures & interesting and honest reporting. Keep it up. It is what the public should know.

nightcaller said...

The next time around, the organisers better give you the memorandum since you have reached Kg Attap area which is only 200 m short from Istana Negara...

From there on, we'll use the "scrum" formation to reach our destination - the Taiping Tigers style...:)

Nice meeting you...