Trouble-free rally kicks off, 100,000 gather

FMT Staff | January 12, 2013
The crowd has spilled out of the stadium and Federal Reserve Unit personnel were conspiciuously missing.
KUALA LUMPUR: The opposition-organised Himpunan Kebangkitan Rakyat began at Stadium Merdeka here this afternoon without any problems.
Almost 100,000 people in and around the stadium have packed the historic venue to hear speeches from Pakatan Rakyat leaders.
Earlier at 1.48pm, the police estimated 30,000 people were inside the stadium with some 5,000 still outside. A large group of supporters numbering about 15,000 were still marching to the stadium.
They had marched from eight different locations in the city, namely Masjid Negara, Universiti Malaysia mosque, Brickfields, Kuala Lumpur City Centre, Jalan Sultan, Central Market, Kampung Baru and Dataran Merdeka.
By 2.15pm, with about 50,000 people inside the stadium, a series of speeches started. By 3pm, the crowd size inside and outside the stadium rose to about 100,000.
Many Pakatan leaders, including PKR leader Anwar Ibrahim, were also in the stadium.
Other leaders included PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang, DAP veteran leader Lim Kit Siang, DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng, Selangor Menteri Besar Khalid Ibrahim, PAS’ Mahfuz Omar, DAP’s Teresa Kok, Bersih co-chairperson S Ambiga and many others.
The mass gathering today for the first time witnessed the absence of the Federal Reserve Unit, usually used for crowd control. Only traffic policemen were clearly visible directing traffic and ensuring the city remained free of traffic congestion due to the rally.
Light shower just before the rally failed to dampen the spirit of the opposition supporters, as they braved the rain to join the rally.
The event was also incident-free except for a report from Utusan Malaysia this morning which said that a bomb was found outside KLCC, which was eventually detonated by the police.
However Dang Wangi police chief ACP Zainuddin Ahmad dismissed reports that two bombs were found in the city.
“It was just bags filled with papers. No explosives were found,” he told a press conference here.

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