200 brave water sprinklers to protest Assembly Bill
Instead of being met by police batons and water cannons on its second Saturday afternoon protest, the group of about 200, clad in yellow, were met with water sprinklers.
The group moved close to some trees in the park after the KLCC management, again, cordoned off its compound for a cleaning operation, including the area the protesters used last week.
There, they stood around national laureate A Samad Said, who is popularly known as Pak Samad, as he recited his poems. Then, the complex management turned on water sprinklers on the ground where they stood.
Undaunted, those who were caught in the sprays shielded themselves with umbrellas and continued to listen to Pak Samad, who recited his latest poem in tribute to the occupy movement, Merindu Ruang (Missing Space) after reciting his Bersih poem, 'Unggun Bersih'.
"Let us fight violence with the beauty of literature," declared one of its organisers, Wong Chin Huat, who is also a steering committee member of Bersih.
Top leaders from DAP also threw their weight behind today's rally, with the presence of DAP supremo Lim Kit Siang and several MPs and state assemblypersons from the party, including Teo Nie Ching, Charles Santiago, Tony Pua, Teresa Kok, Ean Yong Hian Wah and Ronnie Liu.
"We must have a parliamentary select committee before the Peaceful Assembly Bill becomes law, we want public consultation. All of us want to give our views in a real democracy," said Lim.
'PM's game changer not enough'
Samad later concluded his poem with the words:
Ada sang perubah permainan
kami perubah kekuasaan
Inilah tekad generasi baru
akarnya keadilan syahdu
(There is a game changer
But we are changers of the powers
This is the young generation's determination
its root is noble justice)
Asked what he meant by "game changer", Samad said he was referring to the prime minister's speech at the Umno general assembly earlier this week.
"The prime minister' speech said he needs a game changer, but what we need is regime change," he said.
The celebrated poet added that he was there to lend a hand in opposing the Peaceful Assembly Bill.
"We saw just now, even when we wanted to recite poem, that we need a letter of permission. That is not democracy. I'm doing this to help create a freer atmosphere."
Protest disrupted by KLCC security
Earlier, when the protesters were taking turns to recite poems at the gathering, a KLCC security officer intervened and said that they needed permission from the management, despite the place being a public park.
When the crowd began to boo, Wong stepped in and queried if the crowd would require permission if they gathered inside KLCC to look at its Christmas decorations, to which the security officer replied: "No".
"Then next week, we will gather inside KLCC to appreciate the beauty of Christmas trees," declared Wong, cheekily.
The crowd later adhered to the demands of the security officer and dispersed in an orderly fashion.
Speaking to reporters later, Wong said the crowd was smaller than last week because the KLCC management had cordoned off their intended location.
However, he brushed aside any intention of ill-will over the move and the fact that water sprinklers were turned on where the protesters had gathered.
"KLCC is secretly supporting Bersih, we are heartened that it has supported our action in the last two weeks," he quipped.
Wong vowed that the protests to oppose the Peaceful Assembly Bill would continue, even after it becomes law.
"Don't expect us to back down. We are waiting to be arrested and put behind bars, and I'm sure enough people are willing to take a stand to defend our freedom to assemble."