Bersih 4 ends as it began - peacefully

Seeing yellow: The crowd congregating along Jalan Tun Perak near Dataran Merdeka.
PHOTO: The Star/ANN

KUALA LUMPU - The Bersih 4 rally wrapped up peacefully and ended with protesters moving on to celebrate National Day on the fringes of Dataran Merdeka.

The 34-hour gathering brought together tens of thousands of people, mostly clad in yellow, and although the crowd on the second day was bigger than the first, yesterday's gathering was more relaxed with a larger presence of families and a carnival-like atmosphere.

The hands-off approach by the police probably helped.

City police chief Comm Datuk Tajuddin Md Isa said the protesters complied with police instructions and there were only a few isolated incidents, including the burning of a protester's vehicle.

"Except for other minor flashes which were quickly defused, there was no major problem," he said.

Throughout the rally, participants raised banners, the Jalur Gemilang and sang songs.

Mini stages were set up close to one another near Dataran Merdeka for speeches by political leaders, social figures and members of the public. Those who chose to stay overnight camped out in tents, sleeping bags and cardboard boxes along the streets.

Despite claiming to be a non-partisan rally, PKR's rallying cries of "Reformasi" were heard and a large banner with the image of jailed Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim was carried around.

Former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad made a second visit to the Bersih 4 rally, this time at Central Market.

Bersih 2.0 chairperson Maria Chin Abdullah, who called an end to the rally, said they had made their point.

"We were allowed to gather and say what we want and felt and we were undeterred by the police."

Towards the end of the second night, the crowd sang Terima kasih abang police, applauding the men in blue for carrying out their duty well.

Rallies were also held in several major towns across the country.

The two-day event went peacefully in Malacca, Ipoh, Butterworth, Kota Kinabalu and Kuching, but several people were arrested in Malacca for donning the yellow Bersih 4.0 T-shirt.

They were brought to the Melaka Tengah police station to have their statement recorded and were later released. But their T-shirts were seized.

In Butterworth, about 200 people gathered outside the Sunway Carnival Shopping Mall in Seberang Jaya. Several auxiliary policemen from the mall were spotted at the scene yesterday.

In Sungai Petani, about 500 people rallied in front of the Sungai Petani Clock Tower in Jalan Ibrahim on Saturday night.

In Kota Kinabalu, the rally took on a carnival-like atmosphere at Likas Bay Park.

Protesters carrying Malaysian and Sabah flags, apart from placards, started their walk along the jogging track until they came to a police block. The walk was called off and the protesters dispersed.

In Kuching, the rally ended early but organisers were nevertheless pleased with the turnout.

For more Bersih story go to Bersih4 site page.

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