Rally ends, PKR claims 10,000 in #KitaLawan protest in KL
Anwar, the opposition leader, is serving a five-year jail sentence after his sodomy conviction was upheld by the Federal Court on February 10. He had earlier unsuccessfully appealed against the conviction in the Court of Appeals.
He was accused of sodomising his former aide, Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan, in 2008.
The rally organisers have said that the demonstration was also to call for Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak's resignation over his failure to manage the economy and other national issues. Police have warned the public not to join today's street protest, which began at 3pm from three points in the city – Central Market, Masjid Jamek and the PAS headquarters on Jalan Raja Laut – before marching to congregate outside the Sogo shopping centre on Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman.
Police said the rally could have gone ahead provided it was held in a stadium, but #KitaLawan organisers had rejected this and opted for the streets instead.
Police have also declared the rally illegal, on the grounds that PKR did not submit enough advanced notice for the event.
Lawyers, however, have said the Peaceful Assembly Act 2012 which governs rallies, cannot be used to criminalise gatherings, based on a landmark ruling by the Court of Appeal last year that upheld the right to peaceful gatherings.
Get live updates by The Malaysian Insider team covering the rally here:
6.12pm: Rally ends. However, some protesters planning to stay on at KLCC.
6.06pm: Activist Adam Adli Abd Halim leads in the reciting of the Sumpah Pemuda oath. He also tells the government: "Catch us, bully us, oppress us. We will continue to shout 'lawan'. He also told the police to "go home and rest as we know how to take care of ourselves."
6pm: Muslim rally-goers participate in prayers led by an ustaz. The rally appears to be winding down. Activist Fariz Musa tells the crowd that the rally has ended.
5.54pm: DAP leader and popular ceramah speaker, Hew Kuan Yau, or better known by his nickname "Superman", challenges the crowd to sit in for a night and not retreat. PKR Subang MP R. Sivarasa says the rally sends a clear message that the people do not want a judiciary "controlled by the government". He says the judiciary has been used by Umno again. Meanwhile, the head of Najib's effigy is tossed around between some protesters. The building management has also blocked the entrance to both Tower 1 and Tower 2 of the Petronas Twin Towers.
5.46pm: Still outside KLCC, a man believed to be a PKR member holds up an effigy of Najib for a few moments before lowering it. The head of the effigy is then pulled off and held up for the crowd to see.
5.33pm: PKR Youth chief Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad says turnout for the rally today is a "conservative estimate" of 10,000 people. He thanks police for their cooperation. He also says the Umno division chiefs' meeting tomorrow with Najib will likely discuss today's rally, as people are fed up with his "weakness". "He is the worst PM... If we are consistent in speaking up, I am sure the time will come when Najib will step down and the people will win." Music group The Bangsat begins entertaining the crowd.
5.32pm: Tian Chua tells protesters that their actions today have been very patriotic. "No one can accuse us of not loving the country". He also hints at another rally: "Today is just a beginning. Today not enough gathered. We will come back with more." He then asks protesters to sit down.
5.27pm: An explosion is heard in the middle of the road at the junction of Jalan Ampang facing KLCC. At the same time, DAP Youth chief Teo Kok Seong tells the crowd that the march today from Sogo to KLCC is "proof" that the rakyat are fed up with Najib. "We are here to show solidarity to Datuk Seri Anwar. And to send a message to the BN government that we are tired of them and we want them to back off. (It is a) historical day because we are here, in a peaceful assembly".
5.16pm: 4WD vehicles carrying the rally's leaders go against the traffic flow and drive up to the front of KLCC, as leaders ask the crowds to fill the whole compound around the shopping centre.
5.12pm: Rally leaders have stopped marching and are standing at the intersection on Jalan Ampang facing KLCC. Some protestors are standing in the middle of the road singing a "Reformasi" song.
5.06pm: As the crowd approaches KLCC from Jalan Ampang, some protestors begin to sprint towards the landmark. They are defying instructions from the rally marshals to pause before approaching KLCC.
4.59pm: PKR vice-presidents Nurul Izzah Anwar and Tian Chua are riding on the back of a 4WD truck and speaking to the crowd through a public address system. Tian Chua shouts "Tolak GST". Most of the crowd is taking the walk as if it were a casual stroll as they head to KLCC.
4.51pm: The crowd has reached the intersection of Jalan Ampang which leads to KLCC. A police officer is seen chatting with a rally marshall. PKR vice-president Tian Chua remarks that police deserve a clap today. Some protesters are also seen shouting "thank you" to the police. There has so far been no action taken by the police against protesters.
4.43pm: The crowd has passed Universiti KL and is marching up Jalan Sultan Ismail. KLCC is a short distance away. Police officers are seen walking on the sidewalk along with the crowd which is marching on the road.
4.39pm: Explosions like firecrackers are heard near Quill City Mall as the crowd walks to KLCC. At the Maju Junction mall, a policeman is seen preventing shoppers inside from going outside.
4.36pm: Activist Adam Adli Abd Halim is seen coordinating the crowd in the march to KLCC.
4.20pm: An announcement is made that the rally will now march to KLCC.
4.18pm: A group of people outside Sogo were seen carrying pictures of former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad. They held banners saying "Mahathir is the only way", "Tun Mahathir ketua umum peluang keemasan PKR untuk jatuhkan Barisan Nasional". There were also posters with Dr Mahathir's face and the words "Harapan Kami… Ketua Umum PKR".
4.17pm: PKR president Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail tells the crowd outside Sogo: "I will bring the message to Anwar that people had not forgotten him. He will be encouraged that you are here in support of him. We will never surrender". Daughter Nurul Nuha Anwar, who leads the March2Freedom campaign, is also with her. PAS leaders Khalid Samad and Dr Hatta Ramli are also in the crowd. It has started to rain.
4.11pm: Outside Sogo, opposition politicians and civil society leaders are taking turns to speak. Anwar's daughter, Lembah Pantai MP Nurul Izzah Anwar, now says: "Even if Umno causes Najib's downfall, that is not enough. We want Umno-BN to topple in elections. We will use our rights as citizens. This country is not Najib's or Rosmah's or Dr Mahathir's. This country, including the police, belong to the people of Malaysia. Never give up".
4.07pm: Outside Sogo, PAS Youth chief Suhaizan Kaiat gives a speech. He says PAS Youth stands in solidarity with Anwar and wants him to be freed, reminding people that this is the second time Anwar is facing political persecution. "Najib won't be around for long. Najib is facing three problems; one, the Goods and Services Tax (GST); Altantuya's murder; and three, 1MDB. In a little while more we will no longer have Rosmah. Just a bit more. Keep on fighting. The people's victory lies ahead".
4.05pm: Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan gives a speech outside Sogo. "I am here in solidarity with Anwar's family. I am here to fight for our rights. What did Anwar say? He said, 'I will fight on', and so we must fight on."
4.01pm: The crowd from Masjid Jamek has reached Sogo. Tian Chua begins giving a speech at Sogo.
3.35pm: Explosions which sound like firecrackers heard in the Sogo area. They could also be heard from along Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman.
3.54pm: The crowd marching from the PAS headquarters is approaching Sogo. Vehicle traffic on nearby roads has slowed down to almost a standstill. A City Hall officer is allowing protesters to move towards Sogo.
3.44pm: Negara-Ku patron Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan is at Sogo to receive the marchers coming from the PAS headquarters on Jalan Raja Laut. Young children are spotted among the crowd at Sogo. At the PAS headquarters, Kuala Terengganu MP Datuk Raja Kamarul Bahrin Shah Raja Ahmad is seen marching with protesters with seven police officers walking behind him.
3.40pm: National laureate A. Samad Said is with the crowd outside Sogo. It has started to drizzle here and thunder is heard overhead. Over at the PAS headquarters, some 100 people begin walking towards Sogo. At Masjid Jamek, the group, now getting larger with protesters who have marched over from Central Market, blocks both lanes of Jalan Tun Perak, bringing traffic to a complete standstill.
3.35pm: Protesters from Central Market are now merging with the crowd at Masjid Jamek. The crowd is estimated at 2,000 people. Lembah Pantai MP and Anwar's daughter, Nurul Izzah, gives a speech.
3.29pm: Former Barisan Nasional cabinet minister Datuk VK Liew is at the rally, tweeted DAP's Segambut MP Lim Lip Eng, who also tweeted a photo of the former Sandakan MP.
3.27pm: Traders outside Sogo selling mineral water shout "Hidup air" (Long live water).
3.26pm: PAS Youth chief Suhaizan Kaiat and MP Khalid Samad are at the PAS headquarters now giving speeches before the march begins.
3.25pm: The crowd which started from Central Market is marching unhindered. There is no sign of the police or even traffic policemen.
3.23pm: Traders outside Sogo are selling mineral water, T-shirts and vuvuzelas on the sidewalk. PKR Youth chief Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad at Masjid Jamek tells the crowd: "If we don't do something now our younger generation will blame us later. So let us march for Najib's resignation".
3.21pm: The crowd outside the PAS headquarters on Jalan Raja Laut is waiting for PKR's Shamsul Iskandar Akin before they begin marching. PAS's Unit Amal (volunteer corps) is directing traffic. No uniformed police in sight. Chinese youths dressed in black #KitaLawan T-shirts are blowing vuvuzelas.
3.19pm: Selangor PAS assemblyman Saari Sungib is the first PAS politician spotted at the rally today, at Masjid Jamek. The crowd at Central Market starts walking slowly while chanting "Reformasi".
3.17pm: At Masjid Jamek, DAP organising secretary Anthony Loke climbs on the back of a truck to give a speech. "Kita akan pastikan Anwar tetap jadi Ketua Pakatan Rakyat untuk tumbangkan BN". (We will ensure Anwar remains the leader of Pakatan Rakyat to topple BN.)
3.16pm: No PAS leaders are seen outside the Islamist party's headquarters preparing for the march. Instead, PKR's Tian Chua is briefing the crowd on protest conduct before they begin marching.
3.11pm: Two more DAP politicians are seen at Sogo – Lim Lip Eng and Ronnie Liu.
3.05pm: Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) secretary-general S. Arutchelvan rouses the crowd while standing on the flatbed of a truck at Masjid Jamek. A small group of policemen arrives as he gives his speech.
3.03pm: Among the protesters at Sogo is Hoslan Hussein, the imam who threw his shoe in the Federal Court at the judges during a hearing of his challenge on his eviction from a mosque. There is only light police presence at Sogo, and no sign of any Federal Reserve Unit police. The crowd of protesters is about 150 people.
2.59pm: DAP has a sizable delegation at Masjid Jamek. Spotted are the party's assemblyman Tiew Way Keng and Selangor executive councillor Datuk Teng Chang Kim, party national organising secretary Anthony Loke and DAP Youth chief Teo Kok Seong. PKR Youth chief Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad is also present. The crowd by now has grown to more than 500 people.
2.55pm: At the PAS headquarters, Tian Chua tells the crowd they will begin marching towards Sogo at 3pm.
2.53pm: Lawyers from the Malaysian Bar's monitoring team are present at Central Market. Activist Fariz Musa of Jingga 13 is also there.
2.52pm: Outside Sogo, a small group of police and Kuala Lumpur City Hall officers monitor the crowd at a road junction. Other than that, not many uniformed police are visible.
2.51pm: Two men hold up a white sheet painted with the words "Rakyat diliwat Najib". (The people are sodomised by Najib). At Central Market, a protester holds a poster asking for sodomy to be decriminalised. It reads: "People need freedom to make love – #RepealPenalCode377B".
2:46pm: At Central Market, activist Hishamuddin Rais tells the crowd they will start marching towards Sogo at 3:20pm after meeting up with the group at Masjid Jamek.
2.45pm: Another poster of the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong appears in the crowd at Masjid Jamek. The man holding it says he believes in the King to release Anwar. The crowd responds by shouting for Najib's resignation.
2.40pm: Outside Sogo, a man draws attention when he starts giving a speech about how the judiciary cannot be trusted and asks Najib to resign. Meanwhile, at Masjid Jamek, demonstrators unfurl a large banner which says "When dictatorship is a fact, revolution is a duty".
2.34pm: More banners saying "Undur, Najib, undur" (Resign, Najib, resign) can be seen outside Central Market. Some 30 people in black T-shirts are gathered here now chanting "Reformasi".
2.30pm: Outside Sogo, a group of buskers are attracting crowds of protestors.
2.27pm: Around 100 people have gathered now at Masjid Jamek, shouting "Reformasi" and "KitaLawan" as passing vehicles toot their horns loudly. The DAP MP for Ipoh Timur, Thomas Su, has arrived at Masjid Jamek. No other opposition politicians spotted so far.
2.26pm: A protester outside Sogo is holding the portrait of the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong (King) and says: "Kita tak percaya menteri, peguam. Kita tungu keputusan Agong". (We do not trust the ministers, lawyers. We wait for the King's decision). This is in reference to the appeal for royal pardon sent to the King by Anwar's family.
2.24pm: People have begun milling around outside Sogo, the main rallying point, but there appear to be more journalists than actual protesters.
2.14pm: PKR vice-president Tian Chua has just arrived at the PAS headquarters to lead the marchers here.
2.12pm: Outside the Sogo shopping centre, Anwar supporters chant "Reformasi" – the rallying cry first used in 1998 after he was sacked from government.
2.04pm: At another gathering point outside the PAS headquarters in Jalan Raja Laut, 30 PKR members from Perlis have assembled and are shouting slogans calling for Najib's resignation.
2.03pm: A handful of protesters have gathered at Masjid Jamek in front of the monorail station nearby, wearing #KitaLawan shirts in black and holding banners with the words "Undur Najib, undur Rosmah". People are also selling #KitaLawan bandanas outside the Masjid Jamek station. Anti-Lynas activists are also present, wearing green. – March 7, 2015.