Friday, July 8, 2011

Bersih 2.0: Some drama expected

Looks like there will be some drama after all.

I was perhaps too hasty to write off the entire Bersih 2.0 as a non-starter and declared a victory for the Barisan government.

In the continuing battle of wits, the Pakatan Rakyat leaders - who are backing the Bersih 2.0 rally - are trying to turn a perceived loss into some kind of victory.

Since tomorrow's rally will not be held on the streets of Kuala Lumpur and will instead be held in a stadium (assuming that the Bersih organisers can find one that will allow them to stage it there), the Pakatan Rakyat leaders - who have conveniently hitched a ride on an event organised by a civil society movement - intend to turn the stadium rally into some kind of street rally.

How? By sending as many supporters as possible to the venue (wherever it is). Let's say the stadium can accommodate 30,000 people and 100,000 people turn up for the Bersih rally, the crowd will spill out to the streets nearby.

Not all of the Bersih supporters will be able to drive to the stadium (assuming the police have not cordoned off the area), so they will have to park elsewhere or board the LRT or taxis to get to the venue. Then they will have to alight some distance from the venue because of the crowd and the roads being closed by the cops.

Thus the thousands of Bersih supporters will have to gather on the streets and walk to the stadium. In that fashion the Bersih rally will proceed.

I feel the Najib administration has slipped from its moral high ground somewhat by its handling of the Bersih rally. Initially I thought Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib had pulled off a master stroke by appearing to be magnanimous by allowing the Bersih organisers to hold the rally in a stadium, but the stonewalling tactics employed by his underlings and the abhorrent rough-and-tough stance of the police have led many to doubt the government's sincerity to allow Malaysians to exercise their democratic right to express themselves.

It may not be an accurate or complete survey, but most of the people I have spoken to disagreed with the Government's high-handed handling of the Bersih issue.

I fear the Barisan Nasional Government may have misjudged the sentiments of the people and may have played into the hands of Pakatan Rakyat.

Looks like "Bersih" will be the slogan that the Opposition will use in the next general election.

The buzz is that the Youth wing of Umno will be gathering in Bukit Bintang while Bersih supporters will be turning up at Stadium Merdeka. And the Perkasa folks? They will be "strolling around" in the Titiwangsa area.

The authorities have banned 91 people including leaders of Bersih and Pakatan Rakyat from entering the city centre and the police will be setting up road blocks all over and locking down the city centre for 22 hours from midnight tonight. The major bus stations - Puduraya, Putra and Pekeliling - will also be closed.

Some Pakatan leaders have declared that they will be in the city. How are they going to get past the police checkpoints? Nobody knows and they are not telling.

And the TV cameramen, photographers and videographers of various news agencies are busy planning their coverage of the event.

Looks like there will be a 'CNN moment' after all.

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