BERSIH 2: Walk For Democracy (9 July 2011)

The second Bersih rally, this time organised by a non-partisan coalition of NGOs, was held on 9th July 2011.

Prior to the BERSIH 2.0 rally, the Chairperson of BERSIH had an audience with the King and announced that BERSIH would accept the Government’s offer of a stadium to hold the rally. BERSIH 2.0’s application for a permit to hold the rally at the Merdeka Stadium was rejected and BERSIH reiterated its plan to proceed with the rally as originally planned.

This rally introduced BERSIH 2.0’s eight demands for clean and fair elections:

  1. Clean the electoral roll
  2. Reform postal ballot
  3. Use indelible ink
  4. Minimum 21 days campaign period
  5. Free and fair access to media
  6. Strengthen public institutions
  7. Stop corruption
  8. Stop dirty politics

In the days leading up to the rally, there was a lockdown of Kuala Lumpur, disrupting traffic and public transport. One day before the rally, police released a list of 91 individuals, including the main organisers, barring them from entering Kuala Lumpur.

Despite the lockdown, 50,000 people were able to make their way towards Stadium Merdeka. The police crackdown was excessive. Tear gas and water cannons were fired into Tung Shin Hospital and protesters were kettled into small areas while being sprayed with tear gas. A total of 1667 people were arrested, including key BERSIH 2.0 leaders and politicians.

For the first time, solidarity gatherings were also held in 32 cities around the world, organised by Global Bersih.

In the months following the rally, a Parliamentary Select Committee on Electoral Reform was announced and established.