Seeing red in Malaysia: Pro-government Red Shirts marched through KL, determined to be a counter-force to the #Bersih5 rally they view as anti-government. Channel NewsAsia's Sumisha Naidu with more.
โปรดอย่าเข้าใจผิดว่ารัฐบาลมาเลเซียเป็นรัฐบาลประชาธิปไตยและฝ่ายต่อต้าน(เสื้อเหลือง)คือฝ่ายไม่เอาประชาธิปไตย ตรงกันข้าม รัฐบาลมาเลเซียคือรัฐบาลที่ใช้อำนาจอิทธิพลที่ไม่เป็นธรรมและพรรคพวกในกระบวนการยุติธรรมเอาผู้นำฝ่ายค้านเข้าคุก (บางกรณีใช้กฎหมายความมั่นคงจากสมัยอังกฤษครองมาลายาที่เคยเป็นเครื่องมือปราบคอมิวนิสต์ในสมัยก่อน)
ส่วนผู้ประท้วงเสื้อเหลืองเป็นผู้เรียกร้องประชาธิปไตยที่แท้จริงโดยใช้สันติวิธีเรียกร้องระบบการเลือกตั้งที่เป็นธรรมที่ไม่เอื้อประโยชน์ให้กับพรรครัฐบาลมากกว่าฝ่ายค้าน แต่ไม่ได้เรียกร้องการรัฐประหารแต่อย่างใด และไม่ได้เสนอให้ชลอการเลือกตั้งเหมือนม๊อบนกหวีดไทย
"I feel great, especially when there there are so many participants," says Dr. Mahathir bin Mohamad, who adds the government is "very cowardly" for trying to prevent the #Bersih5 rally. He landed in Malaysia earlier today, and intends to join the main protest.
(Video: Melissa Goh)
Source: Channel News Asia
19 Nov 2016
KUALA LUMPUR: About 15,500 protesters from Malaysian pro-democracy group Bersih turned up for their fifth mass demonstration in the capital city on Saturday (Nov 19), according to estimates from the police.
The critics of the Malaysian government came together to send a clear message that they wanted change, a clean administration and free and fair elections.
Thousands gathered at the starting point of the rally in Jalan Bangsar on Saturday morning, despite the arrests of Bersih leaders including co-chairperson Maria Chin Abdullah the day before.
Many were angry that she was being held under the country's anti-terror law that allows preemptive detention for up to 28 days.
Earlier in the day, tensions rose as Bersih protesters looked set to breach the barricades in Jalan Bangsar, which prompted hundreds of riot police to be on standby. Water cannon trucks were also deployed, although Bersih co-chairperson Ambiga Sreenevasan quickly intervened and negotiated with the police.
The water canon trucks are out now , as crowds approaching the police barricade at Jalan Bangsar pic.twitter.com/2Su7dQUboA— Melissa Goh (@MelGohCNA) November 19, 2016
In the end the crowd stayed put, resulting in some unhappiness. Still, Bersih co-chairperson Ambiga claimed the rally was a success.
She said: "People have shown us that this country is worth fighting for and they are prepared to fight for their country. I think that’s the message they are giving with their presence today."
"We won't breach the line " police have allowed crowds to stay put along Jln Bangsar ."It's already a success #Bersih5 rally" @Ambiga_S pic.twitter.com/mUiKzn2mcl— Melissa Goh (@MelGohCNA) November 19, 2016
Former Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad also turned up unannounced just after 2pm at Dataran Maybank - his second time participating in a Bersih rally.
Dr Mahathir Mohamad joining the Bersih rally. (Photo: Melissa Goh)
The 91-year-old has been leading a campaign to unseat Prime Minister Najib Razak over alleged mismanagement of the country's finances. "We have to keep going, doing something. Whether anything happens or not, it doesn't matter,” Dr Mahathir said.
Political observers, however, have said that Mr Najib's position is unassailable - and that he has weathered the multi-billion dollar scandal involving state fund 1MDB relatively well.
Mr Najib will face his ruling party UMNO at end of the month at an annual convention where he is expected to rally the party rank and file behind him as he gears up for a general election, widely expected to be held next year.
RED SHIRTS COME OUT TO DEFEND COUNTRY, CONSTITUTION
Meanwhile, despite fears of violent confrontation, Malaysia's Red Shirts held a mostly peaceful gathering of their own in support of the current government and the special rights of Malays and Islam in their country.
Red shirts flash the peace sign at #Bersih5 supporters as they walk past each other in opposite directions at the train station. #Bersih pic.twitter.com/vDvOlEX1Fv— Sumisha Naidu (@SumishaCNA) November 19, 2016
However, there were arrests ahead and during the rally, including those of Red Shirt and UMNO leaders Jamal Yunos and Armand Azha.
Malaysian police estimated there were about 2,500 Red Shirt activists who turned up in the capital on Saturday. Despite threats of confrontation, the Red Shirts were kept away from the Bersih supporters most of the time.
Red shirts on one side of the fence and yellow shorts on the other side at the train station. #Bersih5 #BajuMerah https://t.co/0w3azYcqgH pic.twitter.com/TG12kJ7p2L— Sumisha Naidu (@SumishaCNA) November 19, 2016
They had planned to meet Bersih protesters where they were gathering, but police did their best to prevent such a scenario in view of previous clashes between the two groups.
Still there were pockets of supporters from the Red Shirts coalition getting riled up at the mere sight of yellow.
The Red Shirts are now waiting for their leaders - including the main man behind the movement Jamal Yunos - to be released from prison. He was among several from the two rival groups who were picked up in a pre-rally crackdown.