Saturday, February 26, 2011

HRP rally to proceed tomorrow despite no permit

The Human Rights Party-planned rally will still continue tomorrow despite the red light from the police and the government.

NONE“It's still on. There are no changes,” said information chief S Jayathas.

When speaking to Malaysiakini, he said that the government had repeatedly rejected their applications for a police permit.

Jayathas said that letters have been sent to the inspector-general of police, the Home Ministry as well as the Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak himself.

“There is no response from any of them,” he said.

Undeterred, HRP is taking to the streets of Kuala Lumpur tomorrow morning in a battle which they had hoped to be a repeat of the November 2007 Hindraf rally which saw 30,000 protestors.

Back then, the Hindu Rights Action Force had organised one of the biggest demonstrations in the nation's capital in recent times, a culmination of long-standing Indian dissatisfaction over marginalisation.

Hindraf was subsequently banned with five of its leaders detained under the Internal Security Act. They have all since been released and some have gone on to rebrand themselves as HRP.

brickfields uthayakumar hindraf 280209 water cannonBut conceding that tomorrow's event may not attract as much participation as the historic 2007 rally, organisers are more conservative with their expectation.

Jayathas said that they hoping that “two or three thousand” would come out to protest against what they claim, “institutionalised racism in Malaysia for the past 56 years”.

“The Indians are systematically denied minority rights. Malaysia is the most racist country in the world. Apartheid has already ended in South Africa but we still have it in Malaysia.

“We're not asking for special rights but we just want equal opportunity,” he said.

Police: Protest at your own peril

Despite much build-up to the rally, the police have repeatedly issued stern warnings against the party and would-be protestors.

hindraf march of roses parliament 160208 tear gas furyThe Kuala Lumpur police chief Zulkefli Abdullah also insisted that no permit will be issued for the public gathering.

“I think I have made myself very clear in my statement (sent two days ago),” he said when contacted by Malaysiakini.

On Thursday, he had said legal action would be taken against anyone involved in the gathering, but the police would consider issuing a permit if the HRP were to move their rally indoors where there is no “likelihood of a situation being created that would jeopardise public order”.

HRP plans to march tomorrow from Jalan Sultan Ismail to the KL city centre, where they will lodge a police report at the Dang Wangi district police headquarters against Umno over the party's 'racism'.