Monday, June 20, 2011

BERSIH 2.0 launched. It's all system go for July 9

To a clatter of drums and flashing placards, Bersih 2.0 chief S Ambiga launched the eight point demands of the free and fair elections advocacy coalition in Kuala Lumpur tonight.

ambiga at bersih launchThe eight point demand will spearhead the massive Bersih 2.0 'Walk For Democracy' planned for July 9 that has been hot topic all of last week.

Ambiga's speech was read to the thunderous applause and cheers of the over 700 activists, civil society and NGO members crammed into the Kuala Lumpur Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall.

The crowd's reception to the planned peaceful public demonstration was rousing, seemingly undaunted by the threats of counter rallies by Malay rights group Perkasa and Umno Youth as well as warnings of stern action by the authorities.

"bersih launching badrul hishamAs of now, the rally will go on," assured Ambiga, adding that whatever happened to her personally would not impede the plans for event as the walk represents the wishes of the rakyat.

Earlier Perkasa promised to counter Bersih's march with their own until the latter backs down, stomping on images of Ambiga and making a plethora of threats.

As the day developed, opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim threw a gauntlet to Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak that if the premier can assure free and fair elections by tomorrow, he would ask Ambiga to call off the Bersih rally.

Undaunted, Ambiga said the rally was “not about me” and it was not Anwar's place to make such a call to halt the people's demand for a fair and free electoral process.

Malaysians abroad marching along

Ambiga meanwhile also announced that Malaysians and supporters of democracy overseas will also be holding peaceful demonstrations in front of their respective Malaysian embassies or high commissions in solidarity with Bersih 2.0.

bersih launching crowd 2At 2pm local time on July 9, simultaneous demonstrations will be held in London, Canberra and Sydney as well as Taiwan..

These overseas demonstrations will show that Malaysians everywhere are united in the cause for free and fair elections in the country, she said.

Earlier when approached by reporters before the launch, Ambiga rubbished Information, Communication and Culture Minister Rais Yatim's allegations that hackers who had crippled 41 government websites last week were linked to the electoral reform movement.

"We are not great," she joked, calling the claims farfetched.

Opposition party PAS has pledged to mobilise 100,000 of its members for the Bersih 2.0 rally planned for July 9 to push for free and fair elections.

"At least 100,000 thousand PAS members will come down for the rally," said party central working committee member Syed Azman Syed Ahmad Nawawi, the Islamic party's representative for the event launch tonight.

Syed Azman (right) also pledged PAS' support for the movement, although he was quick to add that Bersih does not belong to any political party but to the rakyat.

PAS members are known for their discipline and they often make up significant numbers in many opposition and civil society movements and rallies because of the party's ability to mobilise mass support.

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