#KitaLawan protest attracts the angry, the creative and the nonchalant

by Anisah Shukry
The Malaysian Insider
7 March 2015 8:51 PM

Amid the chants of ‘Reformasi’ and ‘Undur Najib’‎ at today’s #KitaLawan rally outside Sogo in Kuala Lumpur, one tiny, elderly woman could be seen shuffling among the crowd, angrily smacking the banners held up within her reach.

“Stop it!” she cried in Malay, her dark, wrinkled face pulled into a scowl, as she tried to grab a nearby protester. “You’re being a menace!”

Other rally-goers grinned and nudged each other as she prowled around in her baju kurung, her eyes darting back and forth, an odd figure among the sea of Malaysians dressed in black gathered today to protest opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s imprisonment.

Today’s demonstration drew a mixed crowd of Malaysians, with the numbers surpassing the previous rallies held by the same organisers every weekend for the entire month.

With the exception of the woman, the mood among the thousands who turned up today was largely festive, and their spirits remained unperturbed even as the evening wore on and it began raining intermittently.

The creativity of Malaysians was on full display today as an effigy of Najib could be spotted among the crowd, as well as large cardboard puppets depicting a variety of animals.

“It took a week for the 10 of us to create these puppets and banners for this march,” said a man holding up a black-and-white puppet of a crocodile dressed as a judge.

“We are all full-time artists and we felt that we should do our part in contributing to changing society by coming out today. Maybe this demonstration won’t bring any change immediately, but it will eventually happen.”

He said the crocodile was a symbol of the injustice of Malaysia’s courts and how it was not independent, adding that this was proven by the Federal Court’s decision to sentence Anwar to five years jail for sodomising his former aide, Mohd Saiful Bukhari.

Meanwhile, a small boy marched doggedly on among the crowd, his face hidden behind a mask depicting Anwar’s face, and his body covered by a banner urging for re-elections.

“That’s my younger brother, and we are here because we want Najib to step down. My entire family is here, we came from Seremban,” Mashitah, 32, told The Malaysian Insider.

“We represent the young and we are tired of the manipulation of the Barisan Nasional government and their obsession in holding onto power.”

Aside from “Anwar”, “Rosmah Mansor” also made an appearance today as one protester wore a mask depicting the face of the prime minister’s wife. Around his neck hung a sign that read, “Undur Rosmah” (step down, Rosmah).

When asked his name, he merely said, “I am Rosmah” and pointed excitedly to his mask, before pausing to take pictures with his admirers.

As the crowd reached their final destination at the KLCC, their numbers began to dwindle and only a few hundred stayed to listen speeches by the opposition leaders present at the protest.

One youth held back, unconvinced by the speeches, despite having participated since 3pm. He told The Malaysian Insider that he was neither a Pakatan Rakyat nor a Barisan Nasional supporter, but had travelled from Bukit Jalil to Sogo to experience an opposition-led rally in person for the first time.

“I saw the rally being shared on Twitter yesterday, so I decided to just see for myself what it’s like. The newspapers always say that the rallies are bad and disrupt the peace, so I wanted to see if that was true,” said Alex, 21.

“Turns out, the rally is fine, there was no violence, no problem at all. It was really peaceful. But I still think Anwar is guilty and Saiful is gay,” he said with a smile. – March 7, 2015.

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