|Bersih encircles Dataran, thousands still arriving|
|Saturday, 28 April 2012 02:05pm|
The Malaysian Insider (Used by permission)
by Clara Chooi, Shazwan Mustafa Kamal and Ida Lim
KUALA LUMPUR, April 28 — Over 25,000 Bersih supporters have surrounded Dataran Merdeka for a sit-in protest despite heavy police presence guarding the historic square, with more attendees arriving by the minute.
Police have issued a warning for the crowd at Dataran Merdeka to disperse or “face the consequences.” Riot police were also seen preparing tear gas launchers.
But at least 15,000 have moved up Jalan Tun Perak and are now just outside the historic square. This group is now face-to-face with riot police in front of Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL).
A group of over 5,000 have also left the National Mosque to meet up with those heading to Dataran Merdeka from Pasar Seni.
Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, flanked by Pakatan Rakyat (PR) leaders at the mosque, insisting that “we will march (to Dataran Merdeka) no matter what” and dismissed any notion of being discouraged by arrests.
“No matter what, we will get there. It is a day for Reformasi. Today we demand the rights of people to be met. Enough of fraud, enough of corruption.
“We cannot back down from our claims. We have to ‘merdeka-kan’ (free) Dataran, because it is now Dataran Penjajah (Occupier’s Square),” the PKR de facto leader told the crowd before they began to march.
The group of at least 5,000 at Pasar Seni, led by Bersih co-chair Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan, have also begun to mobilise after the former Bar Council president told the crowd to “go as far as the authorities allow and sit.”
Her co-chair, Datuk A. Samad Said, was earlier spotted behind police lines at a police barricade on the pedestrian bridge linking Pasar Seni and the Dayabumi complex.
The police have since abandoned the barricade and the Pasar Seni group is now at Lebuh Pasar Besar, near the Bar Council headquarters.
DAP chairman Karpal Singh and his son, Gobind, who is Puchong MP, were allowed through the police block near Jalan Parliament and appear to be headed to join the group from the National Mosque.
At least a dozen FRU and water cannon trucks are also on standby at Dataran Merdeka.
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