‘Silence not an option’, organisers say #KitaLawan rally will go on


(Malay Mail Online) – Far from being cowed into calling off the #KitaLawan rally after a series of arrests, the organisers of the much talked-about street demonstration vowed to press on with their rally this afternoon.

The unnamed organisers poured scorn at the eleventh hour detention of several opposition politicians and activists over the planned rally, saying the police strategy will spur the country’s youth to join the gathering instead of stopping it.

“We celebrate our right to assemble peacefully. Silence is not an option,” they said in a statement.

The organisers called on demonstrators to gather at Masjid Jamek, Dataran Merdeka and the PAS headquarters in Jalan Raja Laut at 4pm before they begin their march towards the Sogo shopping centre in the national capital.

They also said a legal aid team named Urgent Arrest, a medical team and a human rights monitoring watch team will be on standby during their rally.

“Don’t be anxious with their provocation and intimidation. The strength of #KitaLawan does not depend on any one individual but the strength of #KitaLawan is in our heart, spirit to rise and fight (sic),” they said.

Today’s planned rally is to protest the sodomy conviction and imprisonment of Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

The movement has been holding regular gatherings in the city to pressure for Anwar’s release from jail since the February judgment, the prosecution of which the opposition pact has maintained to be politically motivated.

However, the police have also arrested more than 10 people over the March 7 #KitaLawan rally in support of Anwar.

Just hours ahead of the rally today, PKR vice-president Chua Tian Chang tweeted his arrest after a dialogue session with his Batu constituents, adding that he is now at the Jinjang police station.

PKR communications director Fahmi Fadzil also tweeted that another PKR leader Rafizi Ramli and activist Hishammuddin Rais are under remand for three days; both were picked up yesterday for their alleged involvement in the #KitaLawan rally.

Shortly after midnight, PAS deputy president Mohamad Sabu was picked up in Penang and is believed to currently be held at the federal police headquarters in Bukit Aman for questioning.

On Thursday, six protesters at #KitaLawan’s sit-in, including two Perak PKR lawmakers, were arrested during the event at Dataran Merdeka.

Sedition probes have also been initiated against political cartoonist Zunar, Jingga 13 chief and PKR member Fariz Musa, Penang state executive councillor Dr Afif Bahardin, Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) secretary-general S. Arutchelvan, civil liberties lawyer Eric Paulsen and Michelle Yesudas.