The “Tangkap Malaysian Official 1” rally today ended shortly after 4.30pm, but the lead organiser, Anis Syafiqah, made a quick escape before the media could get to her.
The reason was unknown although a source speaking on condition of anonymity said it was part of the plan, as a precaution against possible arrests.
This is so as the rally organisers were already warned by police that no permission had been granted for rally-goers to gather at the square.
The rally which lasted almost three hours had a better turnout than expected, with 2,000 participants, far surpassing the few hundred that critics were expecting.
One person who failed to show up despite his presence being touted by others, was former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
His absence, however, had no bearing on the rally as the air of festivity alone was apparently enough to make it a success in the eyes of the participants.
“It would have been nice to have him here as a sign of support for the students’ movement,” said rally-goer Muhammad Azli Amzah, 21. “But we are all here for one reason, and that is to demand the arrest of the ‘Malaysian Official 1’. I think we have sent our message across through the rally today.”
While many participants said the rally had succeeded in ensuring that it was peaceful, Dang Wangi police chief Zainol Samah believed otherwise.
Speaking to FMT, he said the rally had caused massive traffic congestions around the city centre, disrupting the rights of road users. He said the police would take action against “any gathering that does not abide by the law.”
He said the TangkapMO1 rally was illegal “but our main agenda today is to ensure the public’s wellbeing during the rally. Afterwards we will look at the whole situation and take action under the Peaceful Assembly Act, and other offences that may have been committed during the rally.”
The rally organisers were warned by the police a few days ago not to gather at Dataran Merdeka as no permission had been granted from Kuala Lumpur City Hall.