Saturday, July 9, 2011

Bersih 2.0 a big success

Bersih 2.0: It’s 50k, and a big success

Tarani Palani
| July 9, 2011

The coalition's steering committee says it was beyond expectations and the objective of raising awareness has been achieved.


KUALA LUMPUR: Bersih 2.0 has called its rally a “big success”, but added that it is just one more step in the long walk towards free and fair elections.

Speaking at a press conference here, Bersih 2.0 steering committee member Subramaniam Pillay said the rally exceeded expectations.

“It’s a big success but this (fighting for electoral reforms) is not a one day event. It was sucessful beyond expectations,” he said, adding that the objective of raising awareness had been achieved.

Bersih 2.0 believes that the crowd could have been as big as 50,000 but conceded that reporters would be able to judge the number better.

Bersih 2.0 also condemned the arrests of more than 600 people, including that of its chairperson Ambiga Sreenevasan and Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin.

‘Ambiga says she’s fine’

Steering committee member Andrew Khoo said he had received a text message from Ambiga stating that she was fine.

“She said that she was okay and that her phone battery was dying and that she wants to save it for important messages,” he added. She is expected to be released later today.

Meanwhile, national laureate A Samad Ismail said that another date would be fixed to hand over a memorandum to the King on electoral reforms.

“We tried to head towards the palace several times, but the police kept turning us away and threatened us with arrest,” he said.

Samad also criticised the police for acting in a “cruel” manner. “I saw them randomly firing tear gas at the crowd,” he said.

One of the questions posed during the press conference was whether the rally had been multiracial, to which the steering committee replied that people of all races had participated.

Ambiga released

Ambiga was released by the police at about 6.45pm and immediately applauded Malaysians for their support for the rally.

She said the protesters were courageous despite government intimidation. She also said the “amazing” show of numbers clearly signalled that Malaysians did not “want to be bullied” any longer.

“Rough intimidation does not work anymore,” she said.

FMT photo gallery on Bersih 2.0 rally

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