Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Maria's supporters singing in the rain

 Alyaa Alhadjri     Published     Updated

Heavy rain did not wash out the street party that greeted Bersih chairperson Maria Chin Abdullah as she arrived at the corner of Jalan Raja, nearby Dataran Merdeka, at about 9pm tonight.

The slow drizzle that soon became a downpour did not deter some 600 of her supporters who merely opened their umbrellas and put on their raincoats.

They started gathering since about 8pm after earlier reading news of her release from detention under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012.

"The heavier the rain, the stronger our spirit will be!" said the night's emcee, Bersih steering committee member Farhana Abdul Halim.

She earlier said that tonight would be a celebration for Maria's supporters who had held nightly vigils at the site throughout her 10 days of detention.

Abolish Sosma

In her speech, Maria thanked the crowd for their relentless support since her arrest under Sosma.

"What will happen to me, I do not know. But I hope if anything happens to me, the people will continue with the struggle to abolish Sosma."

She gave her promise that Bersih will continue its fight for clean and fair elections in the run-up to the next polls.

"We will show which government that we want. Hope everyone will find a list of 10 names and bring them to register as voters.

"We have to start as soon as possible or else we will not be able to make a difference," said Maria.

At the end of her speech, one supporter started a chant of "Bebas Anwar!".
Former Bersih chief and lawyer Ambiga Sreenevasan agreed with Maria on the fight to abolish Sosma.
"We must carry on our fight. Now we have a new fight, a fight against Sosma," she said, adding that Maria's courage has inspired many Malaysians.

"Today, history has been made and we are celebrating it at this historic spot. Who would have thought that this lady named Maria would take the country by storm. She has taken the world by storm."

The vigil ended peacefully at 9.30pm after Maria, who was holding a bouquet of yellow flowers and waving at the crowd, left.

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