Saturday, April 28, 2012

Protestors break through barricades; cops fire tear gas, water cannons

Following are live updates leading up to the planned Bersih 3.0 sit-in at Dataran Merdeka here Saturday afternoon. 3.47pm:

All those who are arrested are being brought back to the Royal Selangor Club for processing. Weather is quickly becoming dark. Likely to rain soon

3.45pm: RapidKL: Dang Wangi and Pasar Seni LRT stations closed.

3.15pm: RapidKL: Masjid Jamek LRT station closed; passengers heading to the station need to alight at Pasar Seni or Dang Wangi. More tear gas fired to disperse protestors, including at Jalan Tun H.S. Lee and near Masjid Jamek LRT station.

3.05pm: FRU personnel have moved into the areas surrounding Dataran Merdeka.

Police and FRU surrounding Dataran Merdeka

3pm: Protestors who breached barricades fleeing from police personnel. Several protestors arrested. More tear gas fired to disperse protestors, who are now fleeing towards Jln Tuanku Abdul Rahman.

 2.57pm: A group of demonstrators break through the barricade at Dataran. Police forced to fire tear gas and spray water cannons at the protesters.

2.40pm: Truck that Ambiga, Anwar and the rest were standing atop slowly heads in the direction of Dataran while the crowd follows. 2.30pm: Ambiga tells crowd at Masjid Jamek to disperse, after a short speech where she reiterated her call for free and fair elections.

2.25: Crowd at Dataran chanting, "We want Dataran" and trying to push through barrier now. Fears of stampede for people on the front now but situation brought under control again. Situation very tense. Earlier, police doubled the number of FRU personnel and vehicles and Water cannons have doubled. However, FRU have not budged from their location in front of Dataran Merdeka.

2.20pm: Barbwire barricade at Jalan Raja Laut forcibly removed by protesters, despite Bar Council urging them to stand down. A DAP advises crowd to remain seated at same location in front of the police block at Jalan Lebuh Pasar Besar, next to Bar Council building, until 4pm - "If you enter Dataran, no law will protect you. Our advice is, remain seated here. Do not try to enter Dataran" Crowd at Masjid Jamek observe a minute's silence in remembrance of Anuar Baharuddin, who passed away at the last Bersih rally. They then sing Negaraku.

2.15pm: Ambiga is addressing the crowd at Majid Jamek

2.04pm: PKR deputy president Azmin Ali addresses crowd sitting in front of Dataran. He asks, "Do you want to enter Dataran?" Crowd shouts back yes. Azmin says "Dataran does not belong to DBKL"

2pm: Protesters from Central Market, led by Ambiga, join up with protesters assembled near Masjid Jamek, the closest they can get to Dataran Merdeka. The crowd at Masjid Negara has started march towards Dataran Merdeka via Pasar Seni. Crowd is led by Opposition leaders.

1.59pm: PKR's Nurul Izzah is addressing the Masjid Jamek crowd.

1.56pm: Opposition leaders Tony Pua and Nurul Izzah Anwar have joined the rally at Masjid Jamek, together with some of the Bersih steering committee members.

1.45pm: Protesters begin their march from Central Market to Dataran Merdeka. They are led by Ambiga and other Bersih and Pakatan leaders.

Protesters sit down in front of the police block at Jalan Lebuh Pasar Besar, next to Bar Council building, still singing and chanting Bersih slogans. 1.30pm: Bersih 3.0 chairman S. Ambiga tells crowd at Central Market that march to Dataran Merdeka will begin at

1.45pm; crowd from Masjid Negara to march after Zohor prayers. Ambiga says they will not breach the barricade, will march as far as the authorities will allow, and proceed with their sit-in protest wherever they stop. Jalan Sultan crowd has reached and stopped at Bar Council building area chanting Bersih slogans here, chanting "buka pintu". They are from moving any further by the police. Some Muslim supporters at Masjid Jamek perform prayers outside the mosque's front yard.

1.23pm: Protestors at Dataran throw plastic bottles at police trucks passing by, heading to Jalan Parlimen roundabout. Crowd jeers.

1.20pm: FRU personnel have re-grouped at Dataran Merdeka. Water canon trucks also on standby there. Muslims protestors gathered at Masjid Negara enter mosque to perform prayers.

1.15pm: Two police black Marias that have been stationed near the Masjib Jamek LRT station all morning have moved towards Dataran Merdeka.

1.19pm: Thousands of rally participants stop their chants of 'Bersih' and 'Stop Lynas' as Zohor prayers heard from Masjid Jamek.

1:15pm: Crowd from Jalan Sultan has flowed into Jalan Tun H.S. Lee, road is filled with people walking slowly and peacefully chanting slogans from time to time. 1pm: Massive crowd at Masjid Jamek, now that the groups from Jalan Sultan and Himpunan Hijau group have arrived. Street is jampacked with human beings. DAP national chairman Karpal Singh has arrived at Central Market. Police have sounded a second warning bell, warning the crowd around Dataran Merdeka. The demonstrators remain defiant. 12.51p

m: A group of FRU personnel gathered at the Jalan Parlimen roundabout have rung their warning bell. A group of demonstrators are standing their ground.

12.51pm: A police helicopter hovers low over Central Market, as hundreds more protesters stream in to the area. It momentarily drowns out protesters' chants and cheers then moves on. Organisers tell crowd not to cause any provocation during the rally.

12.50pm: More groups from different locations have made their way to Masjid Jamek.

12.48pm: Crowd spills over at Central Market as more supporters arrive from Brickfields.

12.40pm: The crowd from Sogo reaches Jalan Parlimen and merges with the group there. Cheers and chants grow louder. Bersih supporters taking their lunch break at a mamak restaurant at KTM station. 12.39pm: A detachment of more than a hundred policemen in uniform start to walk towards the Jalan Parlimen roundabout from Jalan Raja Laut.

12.37pm: Two paragliders fly over Central Market sending the crowd into a cheering frenzy.

12.35pm: A large crowd marches from Masjid Negara heads towards the road to Dataran Merdeka but stopped by a police blockade. The crowd returns to the mosque area.

Opposition leader Datuk Anwar Ibrahim, who arrived earlier, tells crowd they will move towards Dataran Merdeka after Zohor prayers. Former Umno veteran leader Tan Sri Abdul Kadir Sheikh Fadzir and DAP adviser Lim Kit Siang are among those at Masjid Negara.

12.28pm: Crowd at Sogo begin marching to Dataran Merdeka through Jalan TAR. Police continue to retreat.

12.18pm: Water cannon spotted along with several FRU buses and trucks along Jalan Raja in front of Dataran Merdeka. Crowd remains seated at the Jalan Parlimen-Jalan Raja intersection. Large crowd seated along the whole of Jalan Tun Perak.

12.17pm: PAS' Unit Amal is leading the crowd from Brickfields to Dataran merdeka.

1215pm: Crowd from Little India has joined up with another crowd gathering in front of YMCA in Brickfields.

12.10pm: A large group walking from the direction of KLCC have joined up with crowd at Sogo. The few shops which were open in the area have closed their shutters in anticipation of trouble. A few leaders of the crowd are trying to negotiate with police. Police retreat. Loud cheers are heard. The crowd sits down at the Sogo traffic intersection and continues to chant.

12:10pm: Crowd from Jalan Sultan has began walking towards Dataran Merdeka.

12.04pm: Bersih supporters causing traffic crawl as the crowd moves from Jalan Tun Sambathan to Dataran Merdeka. Police are controlling the traffic. Users say phone networks are congested and data services are becoming limited in the Masjid Jamek LR area.

12.03pm: Shutters of Central Market have come down to keep out protesters gathered in front and around the iconic building.

12pm: Former Perak MB Datuk Nizar Jamaluddin arrives at Central Market, wearing a yellow Bersih 3.0 collared t-shirt.

Bersih supporters who gathered at Brickfields have started moving towards Dataran. Among those in the crowd are Ipoh Barat MP M. Kulasegaran and former Perak Pakatan Rakyat speaker V. Sivakumar.

11.55am: Crowd at Central Market told by rally organisers via loud hailer that they will assemble and do nothing until 2pm, when Bersih 2.0 leaders are expected to decide on their sit-in venue.

11:50am: Jalan Sultan crowd instructed to move to Dataran Maybank, slowly moving out from Jalan Sultan to Jalan Pudu now.

11.46am: Big crowd gathers at Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lock in front of Central Market shouting Bersih chants.

11.45am: Protesters marching from KLCC in green shirts shouting 'Stop Lynas' have merged with the Masjid Jamek crowd at the Jalan Tun Perak-Jalan Hang Lekiu. The Jalan Tun Perak crowd reach Central Market, blocking off the road as they join supporters gathered at Central Market. Their arrival was marked by loud cheers and applaud, and chants of "Hidup Rakyat!" and "Reformasi!" Crowd getting louder and holding up banners at police barrier near Sogo. Police keeping a close eye.

Some of the crowd gather in front of the barricade along Jalan Parlimen-Jalan Raja intersection and watch as about 30 Federal Reserve Unit (FRU) personnel with batons and shields march in the distance toward the barricade. Police say items found outside Dayabumi were not explosives.

11.40am: Crowd gathers in front of Bar Council, near the barb-wire barricade leading to Dataran Merdeka. Also there are Occupy Dataran protestors who previously camped in the square for the past two weeks. Jalan Sultan crowd is growing; people are cheering, chanting Bersih slogans and holding up banners. At least 3 helicopter seen circling the area. Himpunan Hijau members have started a sit-down protest along Jalan Tun Perak, just outside Menara Maybank.

11.36am: Some Bersih supporters holding up yellow Angry Birds balloons while gathering at Brickfields.

11.35am: Little pieces of paper on what to do if arrested are distributed to Bersih supporters.

11.30am: The crowds have started to move towards the Masjid Negara. They were told to do so by PAS' Unit Amal personnel. Meanwhile the crowd gathered at Jalan Parlimen-Jalan Raja waves at a low hovering police helicopter. The group of marchers from Masjid Jamek have stopped at Jalan Tun Perak-Jalan Hang Lekiu intersection and proceeded to sit down and continue chanting. They start singing Negaraku.

11.26am: A group of Bar Council members are gathered nearby the Little India fountain in Brickfields to observe the situation here.

11.25am: Azmin Ali walking with some through Masjid India to Dataran. Anti-Lynas group to Pudu Central and chanting slogans.

11.24am: A police helicopter has been hovering above Central Market and nearby assembly points for the last 10 minutes, as protesters go about their business while waiting for further instructions from the movement's leadership.

11.22am: More supporters moving into Central Market, coming in from Brickfields and KL Sentral direction.

11.20am: PKR's Azmin Ali seen wearing Bersih t-shirt among the crowd in front of Sogo.

11.19am: Crowd growing at Little India, in yellow t-shirts and ready to move to Dataran Merdeka.

11.18am: Atmosphere at Central Market calm now as supporters seen going in for lunch.

11.15am: Crowd applauds a group of marchers, led by Selangor speaker Datuk Teng Chang Khim and start chanting Bersih Bersih, as the group marches by Masjid Jamek LRT station.

11.05am: Supporters crowd the front of the stage at Central Market to snap pictures of Ambiga and other leaders from the movement. A few of them start singing Inilah Barisan Kita. The anti-Lynas group from KLCC is heading towards Jalan Pudu, roads cleared for them. A group of about a hundred students from the Solidariti Mahasiswa Malaysia group has joined the main crowd gathered at the Jalan Parlimen-Jalan Raja intersection. The group came through Jalan Raja Laut chanting Bersih slogans. The crowd is starting to swell here.

10.57am: More than a thousand have gathered outside the barricade at Jalan Parlimen- Jalan Raja intersection. Crowds are constantly chanting bersih slogans. Police presence has increased as well with cops stationed at the barricade as well as at the Jalan Parlimen roundabout.

11.00am: Himpunan Hijau members prevented from going further up to Jalan Ampang and are proceeing towards Jalan P Ramlee.

10.55am: Protesters at KLCC are marching from Jalan Ampang to Jalan P. Ramlee. The crowd has swelled.

Main crowd still infront of police barrier at Sogo. Many bypassing barrier by going through Masjid India to reach Dataran Merdeka. Police are not stopping them. 10.54am: The crowd assembled in front of Central Market converge at the stage in the parking lot, holding up their hands and making 428 symbols while chanting pro-Bersih slogans with Ambiga and other leaders from the movement.

10.51am: Central Market packed with Bersih supporters now. Crowds cheering Ambiga on.

10.50am: A small band of supporters wearing yellow seen tying up banners to lamp posts near the Little India fountain, Brickfields. Police are nearby watching. They are chanting "hidup hidup rakyat. Bersih bersih bangkit rakyat." Crowd at Sogo has started chanting slogans.

10.45am: Bersih 3.0 organising chairman Datuk S. Ambiga giving a press conference at Central Market. Protestors blocking one side of Jalan Ampang. Several anti-Lynas leaders are giving speeches. Vehicles cannot get through.

10.43am: A large crowd of people wearing Bersih t-shirts make their way to Jalan Sultan after assembling in front of the Central Market LRT station.

10.35am: Himpunan Hijau and Bersih 3.0 demonstrators at KLCC have started walking, believed to be towards the Australian Embassy.

10.40am: Police are tweeting that eight objects believed to be explosives found outside Menara Dayabumi.

10.36am: Carnival-like atmosphere as a group of Bersih 3.0 supporters with musical instruments spur on a crowd gathered around Jalan Tun Tan Siew Sin and Jalan Tan Cheng Lock. Scores of policemen keeping close watch along with Hospital Kuala Lumpur emergency med services team.

10.35am: Policemen linking arms at the barricade in front of the crowd at Sogo.

10.30am: Growing crowd around Jalan Petaling. Most milling around, some chanting "Bersih".

10.15am: A few shops around Sogo opening for business. However, most shops are still closed. The crowd in front of the police barrier here is slowly growing.

10.10am: People are starting to sit down beside the barricade was set up at Jalan Tun Perak to prevent protesters from entering Dataran Merdeka. As they sit, the group is chanting "duduk" (sit). Police still remain stationed behind barricade while Bersih's crowd control personnel present to maintain order amonsgt sit in protestors.

10.05am: Police are cordoning off Sogo entrances with red and white tape. Only the main entrance is open, with policemen guarding it. The crowd in front of Dataran Merdeka, already sitting, are entertaining each other with "magic tricks." One guy takes a lighter and slides it along his arm but he's not hurt. Crowd cheers and laughs.

10am: Very lively and happy crowd at Jalan Sultan. A group is making music with sticks, pails and plastic bottles and marching down the road while others cheer them on.

9.55am: Increased police presence around the Little India fountain at Brickfields in anticipation of gathering of Bersih 3.0 supporters. No road closure around KL Sentral area.

9.45am: Police form three lines blocking Lebuh Pudu (in front of the Bar Council office) but allow people to walk to Dataran Merdeka using the path along the shoplots. Policemen at Sogo taking advantage of the calm to have nasi lemak for breakfast. A small crowd gathers about 50m in front of the police barrier at Sogo. Some wearing yellow t-shirts.

9.44am: A crowd at Petaling Street has broken out in protest chants and songs in at least two groups. One group of mothers for Bersih leads boisterous cheers in support of Bersih and against Lynas.

9.30am: Crowd at Masjid Jamek gathers around a small drum ensemble, singing the song "Stand Up For Your Rights".

9.24am: OCBC bank building beside the Masjid Jamek LRT station sealed off to the public with red and white tape.

9.21am: Police gathered in front of the Bar Council have blocked off the road behind Central Market towards Dataran. Pockets of supporters moving towards their direction and stopping in front of the police.

9.20am: RapidKL buses are sending passengers to the closest LRT stations (not into the city) as some roads are closed.

9.16am: Police vehicles have been arriving at Sogo since 8am. At least 10 trucks and three buses so far.

9.15am: Groups of demonstrators begin to sit down in the middle of the Jalan Parlimen-Jalan Raja intersection. A crowd of Bersih supporters seen buying LRT tokens at KL Sentral, some to Central Market, others to Masjid Jamek. Some members of Himpunan Hijau at KLCC pose for pictures with policemen.

9.09am: A crowd is chanting in front of the police barricade blocking the entrance to Dataran Merdeka at Jalan Raja. Among them are supporters wearing green in support of the anti-Lynas group. Police keep a close eye.

9.06am: A small group of supporters arrive at Central Market with drums, tambourines and placards in tow. Supporters already in the area crowd around the group, cheering them on and appreciating the morning entertainment.

9.05am: Himpunan Hijau members have assembled at the KLCC entrance, Jalan Ampang, with curious onlookers in their midst.

9am: A crowd in yellow t-shirts have gathered here. Volunteers are selling yellow "Angry Birds" balloons to the public. Written on the balloons are "Clean Elections" "Stop Lynas" "Bersih 428" and "Save Our Children". They are selling the balloons with a yellow recycled bag and a towel for RM20. Police personnel standing in rows at the blockade at Sogo, forming a human barrier to stop any from passing.

8.59am: Police have set up a strong presence at Central Market, with easily over 150 officers split into several groups stationed around the premises. A police helicopter hovers over the area in an otherwise peaceful morning.

8.50am: A group of Bersih 3.0 supporters have assembled in front of the Pasar Seni LRT station, cheering passers-by who gave words of support and encoragement. Only a handful of police officers were so far seen patrolling the area. Another crowd of supporters have gradually gathered in front of main entrance of Jalan Raja at the police barricade. Dressed in yellow shirts and bandanas, they occassionally chant reformasi, among others.

8.51am: Traffic has started to build up on some roads leading towards the city centre, where Dataran Merdeka is. The Federal Highway has been congested from the Mid Valley intersection up to the Putra University station from 8am as motorists encounter road blocks, which were set up around the Dataran Merdeka at midnight. Other major roads in the city relatively clear.

8.50am: Increased police presence at the KLCC's Jalan Ampang. There are eleven trucks parked with about 500 policemen. Some of them are carrying food and water out of the trucks. A few yellow shirts are seen around Sogo.

8.45am: Police starting to gather at Central Market. Calm atmosphere at Masjid Negara. Supporters are sitting around, chatting amongst them. A supporter tells reporters more are on the way.

8.30am: Police have blocked entry into the city via Jln Syed Putra; both from Federal Highway and Jalan Klang Lama. Jam building up on Federal Highway. KL Sentral bustling with people going about with their daily activities, unperturbed with the expected gathering of Bersih 3.0 supporters at nearby Jalan Brickfields. The large crowd can be attributed to the fact that it is a long weekend with Tuesday being Workers Day. Many were seen carrying bags to make their way back to their hometowns or holiday destinations. No Bersih supporters have gathered at Jalan Brickfields. Calm atmosphere at Central Market, with pockets of supporters wearing yellow T-shirts all around the area. Police presence not heavy with only a group of Rela members and several police officers around. No police trucks in the area. Himpunan Hijau stages a brief sit-down at the KLC park entrance, shouting anti-Lynas slogans. Kelana Jaya LRT service running smoothly amidst conflicting claims and reports of service disruption, including the alleged closure of the Kelana Jaya station. Heavy police presence at Sogo; Jalan TAR at Sogo, leading to Dataran has been sealed off. At least 100 uniformed policemen here.

8.20am: Two lorry selling food and tidbits parked at Masjid Negara for those who want to grab a quick breakfast. A sign says Masjid Negara is closed to non-Muslim tourists Saturday. On normal circumstances, the mosque is open from 9am to 12pm from Monday to Sunday.

7.57am: A small crowd of Himpunan Hijau protestors can be seen at the KLCC park.

7.50am: Very heavy police presence at the entrance of KLCC, Jalan Ampang. No sign of any demonstrators. Dataran Merdeka was declared out of bounds to the public for 72 hours, from Friday morning, ahead of the planned Bersih 3.0 rally Saturday afternoon. A magistrate's court issued the order to this effect Thursday night. The court order is being displayed on an electronic billboard at Dataran Merdeka. Other areas covered under the court order include Jalan Sultan Hishamuddin, Jalan Raja and Jalan Kelab. The order prevents organisers of Bersih 3.0 and people from gathering at the historic square. The organisers say they will abide by the court order but insist the gathering will go on as planned. Anti-Lynas group Himpunan Hijau has also stated its intention to hold a rally, protesting the setting up of a rare earth processing plant in Gebeng, Pahang.

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