KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 10 – The police want organisers of Pakatan Rakyat (PR)’s Himpunan Kebangkitan Rakyat mega-rally this Saturday to move the gathering to Stadium Bukit Jalil, despite agreeing earlier to Stadium Merdeka as the venue.
Kuala Lumpur police chief Datuk Mohmad Salleh said Stadium Merdeka will not hold the one million turnout targeted by the organisers.
Stadium Bukit Jalil, which has a capacity of 100,000, was preferred by the police.
“In view of the organiser’s goal of gathering one million participants, it is logical to hold the rally at Stadium Nasional Bukit Jalil,” he said.
If organisers refuse to move their rally, a showdown with police could be inevitable, despite assurances made by the authorities to prevent a repeat of last April’s violence during the Bersih rally in the city.
It is unclear why the authorities had chosen to make the decision so close to the planned rally.
Yesterday PR leaders said it had received approval from the Stadium Merdeka management to hold their Himpunan Kebangkitan Rakyat mega-rally there this Saturday.
After rally organisers met Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Tan Sri Ismail Omar on Tuesday, they said that the police would facilitate the rally to make it a peaceful and “historic moment”.
The January 12 mega-rally will see the participation of civil society movements pushing for various demands ahead of Election 2013, including the scrapping of the Lynas rare-earth plant in Kuantan, the promise of fair royalty payments to oil-producing states, free education and a fair electoral process.
Rally organisers target a turnout of one million people who are expected to be clothed according to the signature colour of their respective causes — fluorescent green for anti-Lynas groups, canary yellow for electoral reform group Bersih 2.0, orange for the anti-Felda Global Venture Holdings (FGVH) listing movement and bright red for pro-oil royalty groups.