Anti ISA March 2009

1 08 2009

It happened!

I had long planned to organise a new media workshop in KL on 1st August. My facilitator had already bought a flight ticket. I was told that there would be an anti Internal Security Act (ISA) demonstration on that day and a few people could not join. I still went ahead with my plan until I received sms from a friend asking me to call off my workshop. The message warned that a few roads would be blocked and since the workshop venue is located at the city centre it would be difficult for participants to travel to. I smsed a few friends to get confirmation which made me even more confused. Some said the demonstration would not be huge like the one in November 2007 when the ethnic Indian protested. However, the majority said that it might be huge and definitely main road would be blocked. After several exchanged of sms, I decided to call it off!

I planned to observe the situation since I would be in KL. However, I missed it. My programme in Cameron Highlands run late. I had to cancel my dinner meeting on 31st July and to reschedule it on 1st August. When I was having a discussion, I was told that the police blocked a few main road since last night. No wonder on my way back to KL, a lot of police were checking on our car.

Anyway, the first information I received was that a few people were arrested and tear gas and water cannon were fired at protesters. My meetings went on as usual until late afternoon. Then I received a call from a friend saying that two people whom I know were arrested. She said that they were about to leave after a peaceful protest then the police arrested them. Luckily they were released a few hours later.

Well, I have been asking myself whether it was a right decision to postpone the workshop since we had everything planned. The action today confirmed it was the right decision. It happened. The road closure led to dramatic traffic in KL today. A few online news portal declared it a success for the Opposition as it did damage to the government. That is politics and this is not meant to be a political message. I should then end it here…


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