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Malaysia: Thousands Joined Bersih 3.0 Protest

Thousands of Malaysians took to the streets of Kuala Lumpur and many other places around Malaysia and the globe on April 28, Saturday, for the Bersih 3.0 protest, a movement for electoral reforms. It was also a day of government crackdown, with police using tear gas and water cannons to disperse the assembly.

Vicknesharajan wrote about why they are supporting this cause as well as the turnout during the day.

Today I will be there at Bersih 3.0 to “duduk and bantah” (sit and protest). I am sick and tired of complaining and I am going to do something about it. No matter how much BN (author's note: ruling party) says that the EC (election commission) is doing a good job and elections are fair and clean, I refuse to believe it. Also, Why should BN be supporting the EC? The EC falls under the Prime Minister's Department and that should not mean it is a tool of BN. If experts have found flaws in the electoral process, then BN should join hands with the opposition and say, “yes, there is a problem and let's fix it” and not defend something that is flawed.

Looks like Bersih 3.0 began earlier than expected. People had started to throng Dataran Merdeka a day ahead of the event. From the videos, it seems to be a large crowd and from the tweets of various people there, the estimate is about 4000 people and increasing. This is a good sign.

Bersih in Penang. From Facebook page of Cheok Hor

Dr Hsu also attended the demonstration:

I was at the masjid Jamek area from 12 noon till about 2.50pm. I left  after Anwar (opposition leader) and Ambiga (Bersih convenor) gave speeches on top of a makeshift truck. I missed out the action in the later half when tear gas was fired around 3.15pm.

It was a massive crowd. A crowd that is made up of the o, the middle age, the young , men and women, boys and girls. A  crowd that is made up of Malay, Chinese, Indians. A crowd that is made up of people wearing yellow, green and other assorted colours. The crowd was peaceful. People greet each other even though they do not know the person.

It doesn’t matter that people do not know the persons around them. All come with the same purpose and all come with the same mind — That is to ask for a free and fair election.

George Choo was among those who attended:

I just came back from BERSIH 3.0 MARCH TO DATARAN MERDEKA FROM CENTRAL MARKET.

I am a protestor because I want to protect and safeguard the future of our young generations of all races.

Today, I am very proud to be a ANAK BANGSA MALAYSIA as I saw Malaysian of ALL RACES taking part in this BERSIH MARCH to protest against the corruption of Umno and BN.

If we continue like this, MALAYSIA WILL HAVE GREAT FUTURE as malaysian of all races is able to COME TOGETHER TO SOLVE OUR NATIONAL PROBLEM.

Kok Son even gave the protesters tips:

1) Bring a small but thick towel (to cover your nose and mouth from tear-gas.)

2) Wear long pants and long sleeve shirt (to protect your body from tear-gas stings…)

3) Bring a small packet of fine salt (salt is an effective antidote against the stings…)

4) Don't open your mouth (as the tear-gas can enter your mouth and cause you to cough badly)

5) Don't wait for the gas to reach you.

6) Wear jogging shoes…

7) Carry an umbrella

8) Carry a bottle of water and your camera.

9) Don't bring your children

10) Stay away from the frontline…

11) Lastly, go early. (At least 2 hours earlier…

CK wrote about the Bersih 3.0 movement in Kuching, a city in the Eastern state of Sarawak.

At 1:46 p.m., I arrived at the venue for the sit-in protest in Kuching, which is the Old Court House, or some call it Tourism Complex. I saw some policemen around but they neither disturbed the protesters nor disrupted the whole process. Kudos to the civilised police force in Kuching! Unlike their counterparts in Kuala Lumpur who used water cannons to shoot water with harmful chemical at the crowd. They even used tear gas there! I think the rakyat do not deserve these as these are weapons to be used on criminals and terrorists only.

Bersih in Kuching. Photo from Facebook page of Mabel Lee

On Twitter, the topic is highly popular, although not all were positive.

@rama4change: Bersih 3.0 is a huge runaway success. Biggest ever protest in malaysia. Bersih 3.0 message laud n clear. Will the PM listen?

@wongholeng: Join Bersih 3.0. Be counted. I like this one. You Can’t Live an Extraordinary Life by Making Ordinary Choices. fate of Msia is in ur hands

@chrischoongww: I was thinking the same“@oonyeoh: If any MCA leader had bothered to attend Bersih 3.0, they would conclude it's time to close shop.” #fb

@dzainalabidin: “@azizisafar: Bersih 3.0 had achieved their objective: to create chaos!”

‏ @EmanRaslan: Bersih 3.0 defines how ungrateful Malaysians are with what we have. #EnoughSaid

@AthiraaK: Typical Msian Govt! 1st you say Bersih 3.0 is no threat to country now you deny permit? Tell me something new!

‏ @oonyeoh: One of my strictly apolitical friends, who isn't even registered to vote, told me, “Bersih 3.0 has changed me… “

Online news portal, The Malaysian Insider, reported that the police used tear gas and water cannons on protestors in Kuala Lumpur, and at least 100 protesters were arrested.

It was also reported that more than a thousand people attended the Bersih 3.0 demonstration in Melbourne, Australia.

A full list of Bersih 3.0 demonstration locations around the world can be found here. Another online news portal Malaysiakini also has a timeline of events that happened during the protest.

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