It was a Bersih rally which was expected to be downed by force from the authorities, after much threats from the Red Shirts, arrests of Bersih leaders and warnings from the authorities, especially the police.
Yet, despite the many lined up FRU truckloads of personnel and water cannons at the gathering points, this Bersih gathered a crowd which could easily number 50,000 and ended very peacefully, as soon as the rain started to pour.
Some said it was a “boring” Bersih, as they had come prepared to face off the Red Shirts.
However, the Red Shirts disappeared quite quickly and numbered about 3,000 after they were allowed to march to Padang Merbok.
Even some stray ones who ventured to Jalan Tun Perak where there were thousands of Bersih supporters, were escorted out peacefully by Bersih 5 security members as the crowd booed.
The two main crowds were at Bangsar and Jalan Tun Perak. The Bangsar crowd, numbering about 15,000 was led by Datuk Ambiga Sreenivasen, former Bersih chief and other opposition leaders.
The multi-racial crowd in Jalan Tun Perak was truly a people’s gathering as they kept their spirits high with no leaders. even politicians’s speeches such as from PKR leaders did not gather the crowd. The university students, Orang Asli groups and NGOs occasionally raised the vuvuzelas and chants as they waited for news from the Bangsar side. There were also more Malays this time around, as compared to Bersih 4 when the majority were Chinese.
At about 3pm, the news spread that the two groups will merge at KLCC and everyone marched towards the twin towers chanting “Bersih, Bersih”, “Undur Najib” and “Reformasi”.
Subang MP Sivarasa Rasiah and Lim Guan Eng were among those spotted walking the more than 1km stretch, as other PKR, DAP, Amanah and Bersatu leaders such as Mahfuz, Nurul Izzah Anwar and Dr Afif Bahardin kept the spirits high with their chants. Some of these leaders sat on the truck leading the convoy.
At KLCC, the Bangsar crowd was kept enthralled mainly by former PM Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamed and former DPM Tan Sri Muhyiddin.
Snippets of conversations from Bersih 5 participants as Mahathir and Muhyiddin spoke were that “At least, they have repented”, “Mahathir now knows the right side” and “The ministers are not going to sleep tonight”.
The crowds became one in front of the iconic twin towers and as the thunder rumbled, and rain coat sellers made brisk sales, the leaders said it is time for change and do away with corruption.
As the skies opened up and rain poured down, Bersih 5.0 slowly dissipated and the tens of thousands of people jam-packed the LRT stations, soaked to the skin but happy that once again, they have come to voice their stand for clean elections and a clean government.
Source : Zakiah Koya@The Heat Malaysia Online