KUALA LUMPUR: The Bersih 5 rally calling for free and fair elections is taking place in Kuala Lumpur today. The Red Shirts group is holding a counter-protest.
Here is a timelime of the events:
6.02pm: The barricades along Jalan TAR and Masjid Jamek have been removed.
5.38pm: Roads reopen at Central Market area. However, roads near Dataran Merdeka are still closed to traffic. Police presence is also dwindling.
5.35pm: The crowd at KLCC is dispersing following a downpour.
5.30pm: Supporters at KLCC start singing the Negaraku.
4.22pm: Quite a number of people at KLCC are starting to leave. Some are taking selfies and entering Suria KLCC mall.
3.50pm: Former premier Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad arrives at KLCC accompanied by Pribumi president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and deputy president Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir. A large crowd is already gathered here.
3.31pm: More Bersih groups leaving Masjid Jamek towards KLCC.
3.20pm: Bersih groups from various staging points head towards KLCC.
3.07pm: Dr Mahathir and Parti Pribumi leaders in cars headed to KLCC.
2.55pm: Most of the Red Shirts have already left Padang Merbok area. Many are seen heading towards Bank Negara to Jalan Kuching as Jalan Parlimen heading towards Dataran Merdeka had already been cordoned off by police.
2.35pm: Some Red Shirt supporters are seen leaving Padang Merbok.
2.30pm: Former premier Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has arrived at the Bangsar LRT station to attend the Bersih 5 rally in Kuala Lumpur.
1.45pm: Umno Youth exco Datuk Armand Azha Abu Hanifah and five other Red Shirt supporters have been led into area where police cordoned with barricades in Padang Merbuk.
About 15 minutes ago, there was a confrontation between the Red Shirts when five of their supporters claimed that they had to go home due to a family matter but were not allowed by police to cross the barricade at Padang Merbuk heading towards Dataran Merdeka.Armand, who led the Red Shirts to Padang Merbuk, is now in discussions with police over the matter after he and the five supporters were led into the area that was cordoned off by police.
1.44pm: Announcement by Bersih spokesperson, asking everyone to find their way to Masjid Jamek either via Brickfields or by LRT. They said the programme at Bangsar is over and the rally will continue till 6pm at Dataran Merdeka.
1.41pm: The Bangsar crowd is breaking up into small groups and trying to make their way to Dataran Merdeka.
1pm: Police at Jalan Kinabalu refuse to allow the red shirts to pass through.
12.30pm: Former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad flew back from Sudan and will be heading to Bersih Rally soon.
12.30pm: Bersih supporters from Bangsar have been prevented from proceeding to Masjid Negara by the police. The crowd that had gathered at Masjid Negara have been told to start moving. Protesters begin making their way to Masjid Jamek.
12.29pm: Datuk Ambiga says they will stay calm and remain on the road at Bangsar where they are now until completing their activities and then disperse.
12.20pm: Red Shirt supporters have arrived at Padang Merbok. The group earlier gathered at Putra World Trade Centre before marching in to Jalan Raja Laut and Jalan Kuching to march to Padang Merbok.
12:04pm: As the Bersih numbers increase, some Red Shirts are found lurking in the sea of yellow here at Jalan Tun Perak.
The reds are peacefully escorted out, while Bersih supporters head to Dataran Merdeka.
12.20pm: Datuk Ambiga Sreenavesan and several Bersih leaders are seen negotiating with police in Bangsar to head towards Dataran Merdeka.
12.19pm: Bangsar: Police seen trying out water cannon and accidentally sprayed water on their personnel.
12.08pm: FRU block off road outside Sogo shopping mall.They use loudhailers to tell protesters to vacate Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman, Jalan Raja Laut leading towards Sogo.
Bersih group from Bangsar LRT station starting to converge at Masjid Negara. Hafiz Rayyan, 24, and his friends are one such group who arrived carrying placards. "We fight for free and fair elections," Hafiz said.
12:06pm: As the Bersih numbers increase, some Red Shirts are found lurking in the sea of yellow here at Jalan Tun Perak. The reds are peacefully escorted out, while Bersih supporters head to Dataran Merdeka.
11.58am: Yellow and red shirts meet at Majid Jamek. All peaceful now.
11.50am: Bersih supporters have begun walking to Dataran Merdeka, crowding up one side of Jalan Bangsar.
The rally goers are singing and walking along to the drum beats that are played.
Those from Masjid Negara are moving towards Jalan Kinabalu, while some continue to sit on the road as instructed by Bersih volunteers.
Speakers are making speeches from the back of a black pickup truck. Bersih volunteers are quick to tell protesters to sit down to allow the whole crowd a view of the speakers.
11.43am: Jalan Tun Perak: The group of protesters along Jalan Tun Perak are taking a break and sitting on the road. Naguib Mahfuz, 32, said he was not tired despite waiting for hours to enter Dataran Merdeka.
"We have a right to gather peacefully, even if we are stopped from entering Dataran Merdeka, we will not stop being here," he said.
Naguib, from Bandar Saujana Putra, said he came to demand fair elections and fair leadership in the Government.
11.30am: A group of Red Shirts make their way from PWTC to Dataran Merdeka via Jalan Raja Laut.
11.20am: A group of orang asli from the Peninsular Malaysia Network of Orang Asli Villages join the rally near Masjid Negara.
Dolah Bin Dekoi, 47, said they were there to show Malaysia that the orang asli exist and will fight for their rights.
While Dolah came from Johor, he said the group was made up of orang asli from all over the peninsular.
"What I see is that the government failed to uphold the rights of orang asli," he said.
He said that much of what was done in the name of the orang asli has been for the benefit of others.
"We came to to show Malaysians that we orang asli are here and to resist," said Dolah.
11.10am: Bersih supporters converge and sit on Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman in front of a barricade of policemen.
11.06am: Masjid Jamek: Bersih crowd stops close to the police barricade. No Red Shirts in sight in the area. All peaceful so far in the area.
11am: Bangsar: Bersih supporters have spilled over onto the opposite lane along Jalan Bangsar but have been warned by police to clear the street.
An officer in a patrol vehicle told stubborn demonstrators over the intercom to move back to the other side.
An FRU truck is seen parked further in the distance as its personnel standby and monitor the crowd.
Meanwhile, speeches by politicians and activists are still ongoing as the crowd gathered here prepares to march to Dataran Merdeka.
Some supporters were also seen holding up "Free Maria" placards, in response to the arrest of Bersih 2.0 chairperson Maria Chin Abdullah last night.
"The arrests have made me want to come out and fight even more," said one female Bersih supporter in her 20's.
10.55am: Majid Jamek: Bersih leaders ask supporters to stop blowing the vuvuzelas.
10.45am: Masjid Negara: Bersih leaders ask their supporters to sit on the road.
Wong Chun Yen, Pahang PKR chief, spoke of the arrests of political activists of Friday night,"We have to rise up, and not only for this Bersih rally but to keep on the struggle," said Wong. He then led the crowd in a series of political chants.
10.35am: Bersih supporters are starting to make their way to meet with a larger group of supporters in Jalan Tun Perak.
Peter Tan, 56, from Klang said he joined the rally to protest against the high prices of household items.
Woon Kwee Lan, 71, said he is concerned with the rising household debt that ordinary people had and his children are suffering due to the rising cost of items.
"GST has caused all sorts of problems for us," he said.
He said that his age did not bother him joining the rally because he believed in a better future for his children.
10.30am: Bersih committee member Hishammudin Rais nabbed by police in Bangsar. He had earlier given a speech to the crowd.
A group of Red Shirts are gathering at PWTC, though their intention is not known.
10.30am: Policemen are advising Bersih supporters at Sogo to be mindful of their safety and follow police instructions. If more than 100 people gathered at one spot, then they will be asked be dispersed.
10.20am: DAP adviser Lim Kit Siang arrives in Bangsar, accompanied by other party leaders such as Teresa Kok, Tan Kok Wai and Lim Lip Eng.
Also here is social activist Marina Mahathir. Marina urged Malaysians not to be afraid of fighting for free and fair elections.The supporters here have been divided into two groups, with another round of speeches by other Bersih leaders and political activists. Prominent activist Hishammuddin Rais is speaking to the other group of supporters with chants of "Reformasi" and "Bersih, Bersih" reverberating through the crowd. 10.15am: Bersih supporters have gathered along Jalan Sultan near here chanting slogans. They also cheered on a group of policemen making their rounds here. There are currently no Red shirt supporters in the area.
He walked about with those gathered, shaking hands and making conversation.
The gathering remains the same size it has been the past half-hour and the atmosphere is still calm.
Masjid Negara: Bersih team leaders are addressing the crowd using a loudspeaker - a run through the 'emergency arrest numbers' that the protesters should call in case they get arrested or require medical assistance.
They also go through some basic rules for the Bersih supporters to follow, including a ban on the use of vuvuzelas, as well as informing them about Bersih's security volunteers.
9.55am: Petaling Street: Some placed a box with buns in it. A woman selling taufu-fa gets good orders from the rally-goers.
Bangsar: The large group of Bersih supporters are now listening to speeches from former Bersih chair Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan, student activist Adam Adli, and Amanah president Mohamad Sabu, better known as Mat Sabu.
Mat Sabu earlier arrived at the Bangsar LRT station to loud cheers from the gathered demonstrators, who will be marching to Dataran Merdeka very shortly.
The Bersih security unit has formed a human wall ahead of the supporters and will be leading the march, which will begin in Jalan Bangsar.
9.30am: The crowd does not appear to have grown, although the proportion of those in Bersih t-shirts has.
Bar Council representatives are seen observing the gathering and talking to Bersih supporters.
The atmosphere remains relaxed a;though there is still a noticeable police presence.
9.21am: Former Bersih chairman Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan arrives at the Bangsar LRT station, to loud cheers from yellow-shirted supporters.
“Today is a good day and everyone’s support here has given us hope,” she says.
Rally goers start roaring to chants of “Bersih, Bersih, Bersih” as they wait to begin their march to Dataran Merdeka.
Isaiah Jacob, 50, who was born with only one leg, says he is ready to make the long walk from Bangsar LRT to Dataran Merdeka.
“Even though I am disabled, I consider myself a normal person and as a Malaysian, I have a responsibility to walk for a new administration and a better Malaysia,” says Jacob.
9.20am: Bangsar: The crowd of Bersih supporters gathered at the Bangsar LRT station and Dataran Maybank next door have swelled.
They can be heard chanting and singing phrases like "Selamatkan Demokrasi", "Selamatkan Malaysia", and "Bersih, Bersih!"
There are still no signs of any Red Shirts supporters in the area, and the situation has remained peaceful thus far.
9.15AM: Masjid Negara: The situation at Masjid Negara remains calm and quiet. Groups of Bersih supporters are still trickling into the plaza in front of the mosque with the supporters numbering in the dozens.
Those clad in yellow Bersih t-shirts mingle at the stalls or around the central fountain. There is no sign of the Red Shirts here.
9am: Red Shirts supporters are in a group in Masjid Jamek and Jalan Melaka.
8.45am: A slightly larger crowd of ‘Yellow Shirts’ begin gathering on the other end of the Bangsar LRT station. Bersih paraphernalia is seen being sold.
8.40am: A Red Shirts leader tells the group near Masjid Jamek to not do anything until there are instructions. “Wait for instructions,” he says.
8.33am: The atmosphere outside Central Market is relatively calm, with several Bersih supporters seen around the area, many making their way to other meeting points.
There are several vendors selling Bersih t-shirts and scarves.
There is a light police presence in front of the building, but the area from the market square leading into Dataran Merdeka has been blocked by police, who have formed a line preventing access.
8.20am: Bangsar LRT: People in yellow are milling about and taking pictures as they awaited larger numbers to arrive for the rally.
Some of Bersih's supporters are also clad in purple. They represent the voluntary security unit of the rally and will be managing the crowd as they March to Dataran Merdeka later in the day.
A FRU truck was seen earlier entering the cordoned off area along Jalan Bangsar, where it parked briefly by the side of the LRT station before going on its way again.
The situation has remained peaceful so far, with most Bersih supporters either having their breakfast and sitting around.
Some were also selling scarves, T-shirts, and vuvuzelas.
7.30am: Petaling Street: Bersih protestors starting to arrive. Some seen having breakfast
6am: Dataran Merdeka: FRU teams already on standby at several locations around Dataran Merdeka. Jalan Tun Perak, Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman and Jalan Raja Laut cordonned off at the Dataran Merdeka section.
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