Malaysiakini tells us that Defiant lawyers to march on Sunday.
They want to prove a point that citizens have a right to assemble peacefully and without prior requirement of a police permit.
‘... a right to assemble peacefully ...”, unless of course the Police turn the march into one adorned with free tear gas and generous dosages of chemical laced water, whereafter the Attorney-General and the IGP would label them as terrorists, minus any evidence.
Mind you, the title of the news item referred to only a group of 15 lawyers who are resolute in making a statement on World Human Rights Day by marching from the Sogo department store to Central Market in Kuala Lumpur on Sunday, but not the Bar Council.
The original march planned by the Bar Council was called off on Tuesday.
Hmmm, could it be our ‘intrepid’ Bar Council (minus the 15 mentioned above) have been intimated by the government’s draconian heavy-handed treatment of the poor Hindraf organisers and supporters?
See how the combined might of the government - including a shameless IGP who made disgraceful political statement such as 'Hindraf had made 'false, baseless and slanderous' allegations that the government had marginalised the Indians' - have fallen upon Hindraf in my earlier post Hindraf - Flogging shall continue until morale improves.
I reckon that the Bar Council must have sensed the sledge-hammer approach taken by the government to squash Hindraf and any more marches, and decided to ‘cooperate’.
As my blogging mate, reputable blogger Susan Loone said Bar Council may be a coward but not these lawyers
Susan is quite caustic in her assessment of the Bar Council’s decision to back out. She lambasted them (extract here):
“…the Bar Council was quite pathetic to pull out of the demo at the (near) eleventh hour, after so much hoohaa over “walking the talk” and “walking for justice”. Now it seems like merely ‘talking cock’.”
“The reasons for holding back the protest was even more pathetic: (1) tear-gas and chemical laced water (2) vilifying of participants and organizers (3) use of force to disperse participants (4) engineering of an aversion towards public demonstrations and support of solidarity.”
“What does the Bar Council expect? That there’ll be red carpet, bunga mangga and kompang, to welcome protestors? Hello, we live in a police state. Everyone knows that already. Is the Bar Council sleeping? It’s not like it is the first time that police used these high-handed tactics and brute force on peaceful assemblies.”
;-) I am maybe just a wee more sympathetic though I do have a guess as to why the Bar Council are not prepared to endure what Hindraf supporters had gone through courageously.
No, those really intrepid Hindraf supporters conducted their march not because of some abstract ideals like the 'inalienable right of a citizen to assemble peacefully', but about concrete real life issues of social-economic-religious marginalisation and oppression - yes, demolishing a Hindu temple even as a Hindu Minister attempted in vain to stop the desecration is nothing less than arrogant and insensitive political-cultural oppression.
It proves sadly that the majority of the Bar Council members and the majority of now hard-to-be-seen-hard-to-be-heard supporters of Bersih do not identify themselves with the pitiful problems and gross grievances of Indian Malaysians that Hindraf has been campaigning about, least of all that sacred cow Article 153.
When the going gets tough, the tough will be all alone.
Postscript: Malaysiakini published Bersih pushes back Tuesday rally plan which tells us that “a rally planned outside Parliament House on Tuesday has been called off by the Coalition for Clear and Fair Elections (Bersih), which will instead submit a protest memorandum to the Speaker of the Dewan Rakyat.” ;-)