Bersih says 50,000 protested, declares rally ‘great success’
KUALA LUMPUR, July 9 — Bersih 2.0 leaders led by national laureate Datuk A. Samad Said said today their rally was a “great success” as an estimated 50,000 people turned out in support of their movement, despite being unable to hand their memorandum to set up a royal commission to look into electoral reform to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.
“I have never seen all the races in Malaysia so united for one cause before,” Samad said.
He also said the supporters of Bersih 2.0 were more multiracial this time compared to its previous incarnation in 2007 as Bersih.
The 76-year-old poet was boldly dressed in the distinctive yellow Bersih 2.0 T-shirt, which has been outlawed by the police under Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein’s orders since July 1.
Samad told reporters at Midah Hotel here that Bersih 2.0 will try to hand over the memo to the King at a later date, but declined to say when.
He said the organisers will not do it through another rally.
The rump Bersih 2.0 leadership condemned the police, claiming the cops reacted harshly to the civil organisation and slammed them further for arresting their coalition chief Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan and fellow leader Maria Chin Abdullah.
“The only violence witnessed was perpetrate by the police who unleashed immense amounts of tear gas and chemically-laced water on innocent members of the public,” said Bersih 2.0 steering committee member Dr Subramaniam Pillay.
Fellow Bersih leader Richard Yeoh suggested to supporters to wear yellow every Saturday as a mark of their “civil disobedience”.
Hishammuddin had also outlawed the colour when he declared the coalition of 62 registered civil societies illegal.
“The struggle for clean and fair elections continues. Bersih 2.0 is proud that in spite of all the obstacles and hindrances that we were forced to face, Malaysians of all walks of life overcame the oppressive acts of the police to come out peacefully and in incredibly large numbers to show their love for country and for the principles of justice,” Pillay said.
He reminded the public that the fight was not over.