Sunday, February 26, 2012

Himpunan Hijau 2.0

Picture by Jack Ooi

The anti-Lynas popular protest, dubbed Himpunan Hijau 2.0 began in a carnival-like atmosphere with people dressed in green and beating drums. An Aliran report published today put the attendance at some fifteen thousand people. Malaysiakini also put the number at 15,000. This was probably the biggest environmental protest in Malaysian history. Of course, the mainstream press downplayed the numbers to just a gathering of between 2,000 to 3,000 people.

Kuantan OCPD Mohd Jasmani Yusoff signalled his unhappiness that the Lynas rally had violated conditions of their police permit, one of which was that political speeches were delivered and placards and banners condemning the government were hoisted by participants. The Lynas issue became a hot potato only because the government steamrolled over the local people’s objections. And if it involves the government, of course it will become political. And what’s wrong with condemning the government? The government refused to budge on this project, so the government must take the blame.

On this same day too, Najib Razak said: “We would not give an operating license unless we are satisfied that the local community can accept that this project is safe”. I wish he can see beyond his own stupidity! Isn’t that what the local community was protesting about today? They couldn’t accept Lynas and they were demonstrating against it! What is it that he couldn’t understand? Najib is an idiot!

In addition to Kuantan, there were protests in major cities throughout the country including Kuala Lumpur, Penang, Bukit Merah, Kuching and elsewhere. They were all peaceful rallies except for Penang where about fifty thugs from UMNO Youth and Perkasa turned hostile and injured two journalists from the local Chinese daily Kwong Wah Jit Poh, i.e. Adam Chew and Lee Hong Chun. The police stood and watched respectfully.

The protest even spread to cyberspace where unidentified hackers took down Lynas corporate website and replaced it with a posting that said: "Stop Lynas, save Malaysia. Do not hurt my country."

Buoyed by a successful turnout yesterday, the anti-Lynas protest group, Himpunan Hijau, issued a 24-hour deadline for the federal government to shut down the Lynas plant in Gebeng or face an even bigger demonstration.

In the SPL game between Celtic and Motherwell, good goalkeeping by Darren Randolph prevented the former from scoring even as they dominated. It was Gary Hooper who broke Motherwell's resistance when he fired home from close range (59). Their lead over second-placed Rangers widened to 23 points.

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