KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 8 — Just a couple of hours from the start of the anti-International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD) rally, the number of people around the Dang Wangi junction has swelled to at least 5,000.
More are trickling in by the minute, as they wait to make their way to Dataran Merdeka.Among the prominent figures at Sogo this morning was Umno Youth Chief Datuk Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki who gave a crowd-rousing address.
Asyraf also reminded all present that the gathering was a peaceful one, and warned against inciting any provocation.
As the sidewalks became packed with people sitting around waiting to march to the historic square, Jalan Dang Wangi and Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman is now dominated by demonstrators walking the three-lane streets.
The two roads have been momentarily closed off to the public to facilitate the droves of supporters flooding the city.
To entertain those waiting under the scorching sun is record-breaking busker Roslee Yusof, 51.
Holding the record for the longest busking performance, which stands at 34-hours, Roslee who was in some kind of military-style costume today did not fail to attract the attention of those here.
Having been a busker for 25 years, Roslee said he was overwhelmed by the huge crowds but is treating it as a good opportunity to gain exposure.
“I am happy to see all the people here from all over the country, because now the whole of Malaysia can see and know about me, not just the city folk,” he said.
Roslee, who accepts donations for those wanting to pose for a photograph with him, said his collection so far today matched his usual nightly collections.
“I praise God for the contributions today, I want all here to know who I am and come get their photos taken with me,” he said.
Roslee said he expects to join up with the rest of the demonstrators at Dataran Merdeka, but is still unsure if he will show up in character or as himself.
The rally was originally planned to demand that the government reject ICERD, but was repurposed as a “thanksgiving” event to celebrate Putrajaya’s decision not to ratify the United Nation’s convention.
Organised by Umno, PAS, a coalition of Malay-Muslim groups Ummah and the newly-formed National Sovereignty Secretariat (Daulat), the event targets around 500,000 people to be present, all who were asked to be dressed in white.