Anwar urges demonstrators on towards Dataran Merdeka


(Bernama) – By about 2 pm, some 25,000 people had joined a gathering organised by a non-governmental organisation in the city, assembling around Dataran Merdeka which has been declared out of bounds by a court order.

The organiser of the so-called peaceful demonstration, which police said was under control, had not taken up the offer to hold the gathering at any of four stadiums in the city after Kuala Lumpur City Hall denied permission to use Dataran Merdeka. 

Gathering co-chairman Datuk S. Ambiga, in her address to the demonstrators earlier today, advised the participants to comply with the court order declaring Dataran Merdeka out of bounds.

However, PKR advisor and Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, who addressed some 5,000 demonstrators at the National Mosque, urged them to “proceed to Dataran Merdeka whatever happens”. 

He also told the demonstrators not to become dispirited or fearful of getting arrested by the police.

Kuala Lumpur City Hall had prohibited the use of Dataran Merdeka for the gathering, saying that the square was reserved only for official national-level events. 

Besides Anwar, other opposition party leaders who attended the gathering were PKR deputy president Azmin Ali and Lembah Pantai MP Nurul Izzah Anwar. 

Several people wrote on Twitter, the online social networking service, in protest against the gathering, with some saying that it had been hijacked by political parties for their own hidden agenda.

One person tweeted: “Why are Ambiga and Bersih making false accusations at SPR (Election Commission) for just some few shortcomings? It seems they have a hidden agenda here.”     

Another wrote: “Azmin has literally hijacked Bersih’s main agenda and is turning this demo so political. Anwar, no different.”