Hundreds arrive hours before Bersih 4 rally

Protesters march towards Dataran Merdeka for the Bersih 4 rally in Kuala Lumpur, August 29, 2015. ― Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
Protesters march towards Dataran Merdeka for the Bersih 4 rally in Kuala Lumpur, August 29, 2015. ― Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 29 ― Hundreds of demonstrators have arrived in the city centre four hours ahead of the Bersih 4 rally scheduled at 2pm today.

Several busloads of supporters from Kepong were seen walking from Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lock towards Dataran Maybank, one of the meeting points for the rally organised by polls reform group Bersih 2.0.

A family from Klang wearing Bersih 4 T-shirts that the government banned yesterday was also spotted waiting for the overnight rally to begin.

“We are here to prove a point to the administration so that we won't be dictated,” first-time Bersih participant Khai, who was there with his brothers and father, told Malay Mail Online.

When asked if he was worried about violence or about getting arrested, he said it was not a concern as he had his older brothers there with him for protection.

“That's why I have these guys here,” the teenager said.

Several other protesters ― both Malays and Chinese ― were also seen in the Masjid India alleys.

So far, no roadblocks in the city centre are visible though traffic has been diverted to make way for the Merdeka Day procession run-through.

Protesters arrive early at Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lock and march towards Dataran Maybank for the Bersih 4 rally on August 29, 2015. ― Picture by Mayuri Mei Lin
Protesters arrive early at Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lock and march towards Dataran Maybank for the Bersih 4 rally on August 29, 2015. ― Picture by Mayuri Mei Lin

Despite the government ban, many protesters were seen dressed in Bersih 4 yellow T-shirts as they marched to the meeting points for the rally, which are Pasar Seni, Sogo, the National Mosque, Dataran Maybank and Brickfields..

The police have barricaded the entrance to Dataran Merdeka. The Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) did not give permission to organisers to use the historic square for the Bersih 4 rally, due to rehearsals for events lined up for Merdeka Day celebrations, which falls on August 31.

Bersih 2.0 has since said that the protest will take place around Dataran Merdeka.

The 34-hour overnight Bersih 4 rally, which is scheduled from 2pm today to 11.59pm the next day, will be held at the city centre, Kota Kinabalu in Sabah, Kuching in Sarawak and other cities globally.

The Bersih 4 rally is pressing for institutional reforms and for the resignation of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak over his handling of the controversy surrounding debt-laden state investment firm 1Malaysia Development Berhad.