Festive air at Lynas gathering

KUANTAN: The MPK4 field was a sea of light green as the massive anti-Lynas Himpunan Hijau 2.0 crowd converged peacefully, creating a festive ambience.

They mingled and chanted enthusiastically while waiting for the event to begin.

A group of cyclists taking part in the protest against the construction of the Lynas rare earth plant, in Gebeng, Pahang. Gatherings were also held in several other places, including Kuala Lumpur, Ipoh and Penang. — AZHAR MAHFOF / The Star

They held up banners and chanted slogans urging the Government to put a stop to the setting up of the Lynas Corp rare earth plant.  Many marched in large groups from town to the field where the assembly was held while police controlled traffic flow besides monitoring the situation.

The event kicked off at 9.45am with the crowd singing the national anthem.

Activist Hishammuddin Rais was the emcee and got the crowd tickled pink with a unique introduction of several politicians.

Opposition leaders who attended the gathering included Pakatan Rakyat leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, DAP adviser Lim Kit Siang, PAS vice-president Salahuddin Ayub and Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim. Bersih 2.0 chairman Datuk S. Ambiga was also present.

National laureate A. Samad Said recited a self-penned poem entitled Gebeng yang Luka.

“Our rimba (land) is our life, and we must defend our life. We cannot let it be, we must fight,” he said from a makeshift stage a trailer lorry.

Himpunan Hijau 2.0 and Anti-Lynas organising chairman Wong Tack said Malaysians would not allow Lynas “an inch into our soil”.

Saying their piece: Anti-Lynas protesters holding up placards in Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman in Kuala Lumpur yesterday. — AZMAN GHANI / The Star

Most of the crowd dispersed after the event ended at about 11.30am.

Police, who ensured security was maintained and kept watch from a distance, earned the praise of Pakatan Rakyat leaders.

They said this was a sign of Malaysia’s maturing democracy.

“I think it is good that the police did not ban the rally and I hope this will continue in the future,” said DAP strategist and Bukit Bendera MP Liew Chin Tong.

Kuantan MP Fuziah Salleh noted that police had always cooperated with the residents.

She commended the police for keeping to their word in allowing the organisers to assemble.

OCPD Asst Comm Mohd Jasmani Yusoff said political speeches were delivered at the rally, thus breaching the conditions set for the event.

Also, there was the presence of children below 15 years old and anti-Government banners and placards were carried by several participants.

These were among several conditions that were breached during the rally, he said.

“We will summon the organisers for a meeting to question them on the violations,” he said, adding that a prior meeting held with them had agreed that the focus would just be on “green issues”.

In KUALA LUMPUR, crowds against the Lynas project gathered in Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman, in front of Maju Junction, at about 9.30am and dispersed peacefully at about 11.30am.

Gatherings were also held in other places, including Penang and Ipoh.

Article Source http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2012/2/27/nation/10812312&sec=nation

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