|Saturday, 12 January 2013 20:54|
5.10pm - There is a massive human traffic jam in front of the Jalan Tun HS Lee police station as people depart from Stadium Merdeka in droves. Inside the stadium, MD reporter Ida Nadirah says littering is at a minimum with most of the rubbish already cleaned up.
5pm– Organizers thank the crowd for their attendance and participation. "We will meet again in Putrajaya," pledges the organizer, as Ito's song "Ubah Sekarang" plays over the stadium tannoy while the crowd make their way outside the stadium.
4.55pm – After the azan for Asar ends, the Stadium Merdeka crowd chants "Reformasi", Pakatan's rallying call.
4.43pm – Kelantan Menteri Besar and PAS spiritual leader Datuk Nik Aziz Nik Mat takes the stage from Saifuddin Nasution and recites a du'a before the call for Asar prayer (azan) is made in the stadium.
4.40pm – Anwar Ibrahim ends his speech with cries of “Merdeka”, which is echoed by the crowd. PKR secretary-general Saifuddin Nasution then takes over and leads the crowd in reciting the official pledge and list of eight demands from the government.
4.30pm – Even as Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim gives his speech, pockets of the crowd inside the stadium begin leaving. PAS' Unit Amal volunteers urge participants not to litter.
4.20pm – Anwar Ibrahim takes centrestage and begins his speech to a packed Stadium Merdeka.
Meanwhile, Bar Council president Lim Chee Wee observes the rally to be very peaceful, even "festival-like", he tells MD photojournalist SM Amin when met outside the stadium. "This is proof that a rally can be peaceful if there is no interference from the police," he says.
When put to him that previous rallies were held in the streets, Lim says: "Maybe the method needs to be changed. I guess it is better to hold rallies in stadiums than in the streets."
Praising the police for a job well done, Lim calls for the government to not hinder the public their right to gather like this again.
4pm – Himpunan Kebangkitan Rakyat organisers claim that they were forced to pay over the odds for the use of Stadium Merdeka.
3.55pm – Lim Guan Eng slams BR1M programme, says it is 30 years overdue. They (BN) are only giving it out because they are "at death's door". He says BN aren't sincere in giving the handouts.
3.50pm – The earlier 80,000 crowd estimate is a "technical mistake", police say. The final figure is expected to be released later by the KL police chief.
3.45pm – To date, six politicians from Pakatan Rakyat have taken to the stage to give their speech. This is equal to the number of representatives from six NGOs who have also had their turn onstage.
Currently speaking is DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng, who urges the people "not to eat up BN's lies".
3.30pm – PAS deputy president Mohamad Sabu (Mat Sabu) throws challenge to PM Datuk Seri Najib Razak, saying this (the crowd) is what Putrajaya has to face in the upcoming 13th General Election, amidst roars of support.
3.15pm – PAS' vice-president Datuk Mahfuz Omar offers Blues Gang singer Ito to come onstage and sing a song. Ito takes up the offer and does a rendition of ‘Ubah Sekarang’. The crowd responds heartily and organize a 'Mexican wave' around the stadium.
3.10pm – ANAK chief Mazlan Aliman takes his turn onstage, and calls for Felda chairman Tan Sri Isa Samad to quit his post over the controversial Felda Global Ventures Holding listing.
3pm – Former Law Minister and Kita president Datuk Zaid Ibrahim, met in the stadium, has nothing but praise for the police. Describing them as "professional", he said this is the way law enforcement should conduct themselves at events such as this.
"They have done a good job so far, as they have focused on keeping order and ensuring that safety is observed. It should have been like this since last time.
"No water cannons and no tear gas anywhere, kudos to them."
2.50pm – Bersih co-chairman Datuk Ambiga Sreevenasan takes the stage, amidst roars of approval. Chants of 'Iron Lady of Malaysia' could he heard among the crowd as she makes her way to the stage. Her speech focuses on the need for free and fair elections in Malaysia.
2.30pm – Stadium Merdeka erupts into cheers as Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim arrives at the stadium at 2.30pm. He was accompanied by his wife, Datuk Seri Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, and daughters Nurul Izzah and Nurul Nuha.
He led a 500-strong entourage from Masjid Negara, and had performed their Zuhur prayers there.
His arrival was announced over the stadium tannoy and led to a huge roar from the crowd, many of whom surged forward to shake hands with Anwar.
2.15pm – With the crowd in the 30,000-capacity Stadium Merdeka full to the brim, the Himpunan Kebangkitan Rakyat is now in full swing. Solidariti Mahasiswa Malaysia representative Safwan Anang now takes the stage and addresses the crowd.
Observers note that despite the warnings by the authorities not to parade banners in the stadium, and not to bring children to the event, neither are being observed.
2pm – Murmurs of discontent clearly heard inside the stadium on limited cell phone coverage services in Stadium Merdeka. Most of the participants have difficulty using SMS, Blackberry Messenger and WhatsApp services. Reporters inside the stadium have to rely on phone calls to report back to offices on the situation updates.
The situation is also the same outside the stadium, with users visibly complaining about not being able to send text messages.
1.45pm – A crowd marching from Bukit Bintang arrives at the stadium. An announcement has been made over the stadium’s PA system that the event will commence in a few minutes.
At the same time, five people, of which three of them were donning identical anti-Lynas campaign t-shirts, were spotted holding a big banner which reads: "Lynas Stays, Najib Out". They are now making their rounds in the stadium parading the banner to the crowd.
Another banner, held by the Mahasiswa youth that reads: “Mahasiswa UKM Tolak Regim”, is also being paraded.
Right now, the crowd is on their feet singing the national anthem Negaraku.
1.33pm – The stadium is now about 70 percent full, with the majority taking up space just underneath the roof of the stadium near the stage. Participants have also filled up the bleachers on the right side of the stage, while on the left, there is still much room to spare.
Participants were also seen performing their Zuhur prayers at the stadium's field.
1.15pm – Some 50 youths from the Mahasiswa team are seen entering Stadium Merdeka. The crowd cheered when it was announced on the PA system that the group had arrived and were entering the stadium vicinity.
Before that, jeers were heard when a helicopter, presumed to be PDRM’s, were seen hovering above the stadium.
1pm: Despite the authorities putting a no-children rule on participants, some were observed to be flouting this blatantly. Not only children were brought to participate in the rally, babies as young as four months’ old were also seen being carried by their parents through the crowd.
However, no untoward incidents have been reported yet.
12.50pm: The Himpunan Kebangkitan Rakyat (HKR) is gaining momentum as crowds are now making their way to the entrance gates of Stadium Merdeka. Currently, the stadium is only about 10 percent full, according to an update from the Royal Malaysian Police (PDRM) Twitter account.
At Masjid Negara, supposedly the final meeting point for the crowds to gather before entering Stadium Merdeka, Malaysian Digest (MD) photojournalist SM Amin reports that about 10,000 people from all walks of life are gathered there.
At Stadium Merdeka itself, HKR participants are being ushered in. MD reporter Ida Nadirah observed that members of the HKR secretariat are telling the crowd to go in, and that "once you're in the stadium, you cannot go out."
The current capacity in the stadium reportedly stands at some 20,000 people.
Ampang MP and PKR Wanita chief Zuraida Kamaruddin was seen entering Stadium Merdeka. Clad in a blue shirt and a Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) hat, she made her way in together with her supporters not far behind.
Meanwhile, other Opposition leaders are gathered at Masjid Negara including Gombak MP and PKR deputy president Azmin Ali, ex-Perak MB Datuk Seri Nizar Jamaluddin, Sri Muda assemblyman Shuhaimi Shafie and Seri Setia assemblyman Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad, SM Amin reports. The leaders will make their way to the stadium after Zuhur prayers at the mosque.
12.17pm – Traders within the Stadium Merdeka vicinity are seen selling HKR and #KL112 merchandise including campaign t-shirts, masks, yellow and black mohawk and afro wigs while some were seen promoting their food products such as keropok lekor and cempedak goreng. The situation is reported to be laidback still.