Over the weekend, there were more than 15,000 protesters from Malaysian pro-democracy group Bersih who turned up for their fifth mass demonstration in the capital city according to estimations given by the police. Thousands of people gathered at the starting point of the rally in Jalan Bangsar regardless of the arrests of Bersih front-runners including co-chairperson Maria Chin Abdullah the day before.
Image: Malaysian Digest
Critics and protesters of the Malaysian government came together to send a clear message that they want change, a clean administration, and free as well as fair elections. Bersih 5.0 is the fourth rally to be organised by Bersih within a span of nine years.The first rally was held on Nov 10, 2007; the second was called ‘Walk for Democracy’ on July 9, 2011; and the third was dubbed ‘Sit In’ rally, which was held on April 28, 2012; and Bersih 4 on August 29, 2015.
Image: New Straits Times
What are Bersih rally protestors' demands?
- Clean elections
- Clean government
- Right to dissent
- Strengthen parliamentary democracy
- Empowering Sabah and Sarawak
Image: Asia One
Tensions rose as Bersih protesters looked set to breach the barricades in Jalan Bangsar on Saturday, which provoked hundreds of riot police to be on standby. Even though water cannon trucks were deployed, Bersih co-chairperson Ambiga Sreenevasan swiftly interceded and negotiated with authorities.
She said, "People have shown us that this country is worth fighting for and they are prepared to fight for their country. I think that’s the message they are giving with their presence today." Former Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad also turned up unannounced just around 2pm at Dataran Maybank. This is his second time participating in a Bersih rally.
Dr Mahathir appeared in a video on Wednesday urging Malaysians to participate in the rally.
Image: Malaysian Digest
Dressed in a Bersih t-shirt, Dr Mahathir said Malaysians need to show their discontent with the government through participation in Bersih at Dataran Merdeka and other places.
What was Bersih 5.0 like throughout the globe?
Here are some images and videos of what went down in other countries as other anti-government protesters marched in Malaysia’s capital on Saturday demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Najib Razak over his alleged involvement in a multi-billion-dollar misappropriation scandal.
2,000 people attended the Bersih 5.0 rally calling for clean and fair elections. The crowd, comprising Malaysians and non-Malaysians, gathered at Federation Square in Australia’s second-largest city. Australian senator Nick Xenophon has expressed support for the Bersih 5 rally. "As a great friend of Malaysia, Australia must tell it, and the world, the truth. And the truth is the corrupt regime that rules Malaysia with an iron fist is a destabilising and destructive influence in our region. All Malaysians deserve a clean government, elected through clean elections," Xenophon said in a statement made a few days ago.
Malaysians in Sydney were seen marching in Circular Quay from the Customs House to support their fellow Malaysians and family back home.
The rally started at the Malaysian High Commission in the morning and protesters proceeded to the Houses of Parliament, finishing in Trafalgar Square.
Bersih 5.0 rallies were held in 57 other cities worldwide by Malaysians living abroad, albeit on a smaller scale. There were even exact venue details of the rallies at numerous locations worldwide on Bersih's global Facebook page
Coordinated by Global Bersih, an international network and advocacy arm of Bersih 2.0 based in Geneva, they include cities in the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, New Zealand, the Netherlands, Australia, Switzerland, Canada, Brazil, Colombia, Peru and Ecuador.
The mood among those protesters that gathered was festive, with drums and vuvuzelas heard along with speeches, songs and chants by participants calling for a "clean Malaysia" and "people power".