Police gives go-ahead for tomorrow's opposition mass rally

 

 

KUALA LUMPUR (Jan 10): The police have given permission to the organisers of the Himpunan Kebangkitan Rakyat (The People's Uprising Rally) to hold its event on Saturday.

Twenty-seven conditions were set for the organisers from Pakatan Rakyat to fulfil, as the standard procedure according to the Peaceful Assembly Act 2012.

The organisers said this after meeting with Dang Wangi OCPD Assistant Commissioner Zainuddin Ahmad for over an hour this afternoon.

Speaking to the press later, Cheras MP Tan Kok Wai said there was one condition that both police and organisers debated on for some time. It concerned the right to display banners and placards in the vicinity of the stadium.

"That was condition 27, the last condition, which stated that seditious banners and placards cannot be displayed during the course of the rally.

"But after discussion, the police have agreed to let us display banners as long as they do not incite hate or negative sentiments among the crowd," said the DAP lawmaker.

Tan added that police personnel will display identification numbers on their uniform and plain-clothes policemen will be wearing yellow vests.

There are seven official gathering points – Brickfields, KLCC, Jalan Sultan Sulaiman, Central Market, Universiti Malaya, Kelab Sultan Sulaiman in Kampung Baru and Amcorp Mall in Petaling Jaya – from where participants will walk to Stadium Merdeka.

Tan said the walk to the stadium should not be considered as "marching" but merely as "guiding" people who are unfamiliar with the area.

He said police were fully aware that participants will be gathering elsewhere and walk to the stadium, where the rally is scheduled to be held from 2pm to 5 pm.

Traders are also not allowed to set up stalls anywhere near the stadium, according to the conditions which were agreed upon.

Green light for two pre-rallies

Himpunan president Mohamad Sabu, better known as Mat Sabu, and rally organising committee member Hishamuddin Rais have urged poople to use public transport to come for the rally as some roads may be blocked by police.

"Police are aware of the plans to walk and have requested us to leave several roads absolutely clear to assist them. So we urge people not to bring their cars and park in these roads," said Hishamuddin.

Police have also given the green light to the two pre-rallies tomorrow (Friday) in Kampung Baru and Petaling Jaya Selatan and another rally on Sunday by a group demanding for oil royalty for Kelantan state.

Mat Sabu, who is a vice-president of PAS, maintained that Saturday's rally will be peaceful amid the "historic" implementation of the Peaceful Assembly Act.

Although rally organisers are gunning for one million protesters to show up, Stadium Merdeka can only accommodate about 30,000 people.

This was conveyed by the stadium management whom the committee met with this morning. Mat Sabu said that the additional protesters will gather in the surrounding area.

OCPD Zainuddin, however, refuted this later, saying that no one was allowed to gather outside the stadium and that organisers had given their word that all protesters will be in the stadium.

Zainuddin, who held a separate press conference, confirmed that the meeting with organisers took place. He said police will monitor the gathering, including the walks to the stadium closely.

Meanwhile, a taxi drivers association lodged a police report against the rally.

Petekma deputy president Mohd Syahrir Abdul Aziz said his organisation, whose patron is Information, Communication and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Rais Yatim, is mainly made up of taxi drivers in the Klang Valley.

He said Petekma was afraid that the rally would turn into a riot, as a result of which its members' income for the day would be affected.

Mohd Syahir asked the authorities to prevent people from heading towards Stadium Merdeka and prevent any unwanted incidents.

Right-wing Malay group Perkasa, claiming to represent some taxi associations, had lodged a similar police report on Tuesday.

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