Sunday, November 25, 2007

20,000 Hindraf protesters rally in KLCC (Malaysiakini)

I was in Sri Lanka a couple of years ago and witnessed a large protest rally - which was a procession not just a gathering in one location. It was an opposition protest, and the chants were against the then current government and the police. The police, unlike the Malaysian police, was present 'unarmed', with no water canons or tear gas, and they just stood peacefully by the side monitoring ensuring that all went well. Business operated as usual.

Several years ago, in South Korea, again I witnessed another massive protest and demonstration - and again the police were on the fringes - ready and waiting to get into the picture if maybe things started going wrong. Business went on as usual ....

The protest starts..ends....and all was peaceful....

In Malaysia, however, the problem is the police - who, by their very actions, cause traffic jams, get businesses to close down and violate the human rights and fundamental liberties of Malaysians.

Now, one thing about Malaysians, when they come out to protest, is that they behave very responsibly and in a peaceful manner

Most protests in Malaysia have been on Saturdays at about 3pm or on a Sunday or on a Public Holiday or during lunch-break - and that, by itself, shows a high level of maturity and a great sense of responsibility - Malaysians protest and strike during their "rest time" not during "working hours".

Malaysians also protest because they really have no other effective avenue of expression.

Letters to the Prime Ministers and/or Ministers and/or government departments generally do not even receive any response - not even a response that we have received your letter OR that we are looking into it.

Try to get it into the newspapers through letters to the editor, press releases, etc - and you find that it is never published.

Ask your member of Parliament or State Assemblyman to raise it - did I suggest that, oh no...just forget it (total waste of time most of the time..)

Let us take the fuel-hike protests - If you were to look at the Malaysian newspapers and other media, the impression that one will get is that Malaysians accepted the price increase (and all its consequences) and were happy and fine with it.

That is what disturbs people because it is so far from the truth - and that is why they come out to protest - because if you protest, it gets the attention of the government and its leaders (and it also gets the attention of the local and international media) - at least then (even with the risk of arrest, being sprayed by the water-cannons, being tear-gassed, being kicked and beaten-up...), I have had my opportunity to express myself and be heard.. That is why Malaysians finally protest.

The government goes out and tries to brainwash us into believing that protest and demonstrations are "EVIL", "BAD" - and is "NOT PART OF THE MALAYSIAN CULTURE" - which is all UN-TRUE - for it is universally accepted as being an essential and fundamental human right especially in a nation that claims to be a democracy.

HELLO Prime Minister and Malaysian Government - we do not want "Malaysian Cosmonaut", Malaysians climbing mountains, Highest Twin-Towers, etc - all we want is a JUST and FAIR government that is really democratic and allows for freedom of expression, assembly ...freedom of the media..


BERSIH PROTEST - all they wanted was a clean-up of the election mechanisms ( a good thing, is it not?)

HINDRAF PROTEST - was it not a protest
against Malaysia's former colonial power (BRITISH) for bringing Indians to Malaysia as indentured labourers and exploiting them for 150 years - not even against the Barisan National government.

(Of course, I will also place BLAME on the Barisan Nasional government who have failed all Malaysians (i.e. all Malaysian individuals and families) in allowing us to now have one of the largest gap between the rich and the poor in Asia. The 10% richest in Malaysia is about 22 times richer than the poorest 10%, and control about 35% of our wealth...Of course the government hides this fact by only looking at race/ethnic classes..and not individuals/families.

20,000 Hindraf protesters rally in KLCC
Nov 25, 07 10:22am

About 20,000 protesters demonstrated under the shadows of Kuala Lumpur’s iconic Twin Towers after their efforts to petition the British High Commission was thwarted by the police with tear gas and chemical-laced water cannon.

The protesters had attempted to gather outside the high commission early this morning but thousands were pushed back by the riot police to outside a two-kilometre radius of the venue.

However, the protesters later joined another crowd in Kuala Lumpur City Centre (KLCC) which surged to between 10,000 and 15,000 by 9.30am.

The protesters – a mix of young and old Indian Malaysians from all parts of the country - were addressed with loudhailers by Hindraf leaders, including P Uttayakumar.

In an attempt to disperse the protesters, the police fired tear gas and chemical-laced water into the defiant crowd every 10 minutes. Undeterred, the crowd retreated and then surged forward each time.

At 10.30am, the Hindraf leaders ended their speeches. But thousands of protesters continue to mill around the KLCC areas playing a cat-and-mouse game with the police water cannon.

However at 11am, the crowd has moved from KLCC to edge closer to the British High Commission. Thousands are facing off riot police at the key Jalan Ampang and Jalan Tun Razak intersection near Ampang Park.

At 1pm, after negotiations with the police, Hindraf leader P Uttayakumar gave a short speech and urged the crowd to disperse peacefully. The crowd was seen walking back down towards Jalan Sultan Ismail, away from the British High Commission.

'This is outrageous'

Hindraf leader A Sivanesan condemned the police for turning Kuala Lumpur into a war zone.

"Things are getting out of hand. We blame the police. They have beaten women and children. This is outrageous," he told Malaysiakini.

Lawyer Haris Ibrahim, who led a 10-member Bar Council monitoring team, was stunned by the heavy-handed police action against the protesters.

"I'm not happy with the way the police are handling the crowd,' he said.

DAP member of parliament M Kulasegaran was also upset with the crackdown.

"Over the last 50 years Indian have been marginalised in this country. And we now want the same rights as enjoyed by other communities," he told AFP.

"They have no right to stop us from protesting today. This is the will of the people," he added.

Petition to Queen Elizabeth II

The planned protest is to support a US$14-trillion lawsuit by the Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) against Malaysia's former colonial power for bringing Indians to Malaysia as indentured labourers and exploiting them for 150 years.

Furthermore, the suit sought a declaration that the Reid Commission Report 1957 failed to incorporate the rights of the Indian community when independence was granted, resulting in discrimination and marginalisation to this day.

The quantum being sought is about US$2 million for every Indian currently residing in Malaysia.

Following the filing of the suit, Hindraf held nationwide roadshows explaining to grassroots about the case.

Coupled with their work to prevent rampant state-sanctioned demolition of Hindu temples, Hindraf won over a wave of support for their cause.

Today's memorandum was to petition Queen Elizabeth II to appoint a Queen's counsel to argue the case on their behalf.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank you. I share your thoughts, and I think people should be allowed freedom of expression and freedom to assemble peacefully. The police in this country are acting against the security of the people.