Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Bersih wants Saturday rally at Stadium Merdeka

Bersih wants rally at Stadium Merdeka
Kuek Ser Kuang Keng
Jul 6, 11

Bersih 2.0 has decided that it wants to hold its rally at Stadium Merdeka in Kuala Lumpur from 2-4pm on Saturday.

NONEThis is in line with the Agong's call for restraint, chairperson Ambiga Sreenevasan told a press conference at the Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall this morning.

She revealed that the three-member delegation who had been granted an audience by the Agong yesterday, had raised three issues:

1. Bersih 2.0 has accepted the government's offer to hold its rally in a stadium. It hopes the police will cooperate to ensure the rally proceeds smoothly. A Bersih 2.0 delegation of fewer than 10 individuals will submit a memorandum to the Agong the same day.

2. The government should show good faith by releasing those who have been arrested, including individuals detained under Emergency Ordinance, and stop all forms of pressure, harassment and hurdles against Bersih 2.0 supporters.

3. A royal commission of inquiry should be set up to improve the electoral system and processes.

NONEAmbiga declined to reveal the Agong's response but stressed that the delegation had been welcomed by the national palace.

"He heard us out on all issues, Tuanku heard us out," she said.

Elaborating on the requests, Ambiga demanded that the government should withdraw all charges against Bersih 2.0 supporters and allow them to wear yellow apparel.

She said the police, Kuala Lumpur City Hall and other relevant authorities should not stop anyone from attending the rally in the stadium.

The Bersih 2.0 secretariat has confirmed that the stadium will be free on Saturday afternoon, as a scheduled concert has been cancelled, she said.

To a question, Ambiga replied that the coalition will not apply for a police permit but that it is prepared to discuss issues of traffic control and security with the authorities.

NONE"Once the government has said you can have your rally in the stadium, what permit is necessary?" she posed.

Although 5,000 marshalls will be deployed to maintain order and security by Bersih 2.0, Ambiga stressed that the police are still responsible for public order on the day.

"If they work with us, we can really enjoy a very peaceful rally."

Asked why Stadium Merdeka was chosen, Ambiga said it is a 50,000-seater facility that can be easily accessed by public transportation.

"The prime minister has said that we can have any stadium of our choice," steering committee member Wong Chin Huat chimed in.

Ban on party logos

Ambiga reiterated that Bersih 2.0 is an initiative by civil society and only those from the NGOs will form the delegation to submit memorandum to the Agong on July 9.

All participants are also prohibited from showing logos and flags of political party during the rally, she added.

"We don't talk to (opposition leader) Anwar Ibrahim (on our decision)," added steering committee member P Subramaniam when asked whether the decision to move the rally into stadium was influenced by the opposition which had expressed the same view.

On the royal commission of inquiry, Ambiga said it should be comprised of credible experts specialised in electoral issues, in order to convince all quarters.

She also thanked former prime minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi for playing an "elder statesman role" in mediating the tension.

The 50-minute press conference was attended by large number of local and foreign media organisations.

Ambiga, who had received threats and demonised by the pro-Umno media as someone 'anti-Islam' was escorted by three bodyguards.

VIDEO | 6.45 mins

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