BERSIH 3: Duduk Bantah (28 April 2012)

 

At the beginning of April 2012, the Parliamentary Select Committee on Electoral Reform released a report of their findings. The Dewan Rakyat passed the report with no debate and an opposition minority report was not included in the final report.

With fears that the next general election was around the corner, with none of the reforms demands being met, BERSIH 2.0 called for another rally to push for electoral reform.

A court order was issued in the lead up to the rally barring any protest in Dataran Merdeka. On 28th April, roads leading into the city were blocked by the police, but protesters still gathered at Masjid Negara, Masjid India, Pasar Seni, KLCC, Brickfields and Jalan Sultan before proceeding to Dataran Merdeka. The call for the protest rally was to have a peaceful sit-in, hence “Duduk Bantah”. BERSIH 2.0 rally was also held in seven states, including Sabah and Sarawak.

This time more Malaysians overseas participated in Global BERSIH solidarity gatherings held in 85 cities around the world. In total over 250,000 people participated in the Bersih 3 rally domestically and worldwide.

The rally turned chaotic when police began firing tear gas and water cannons at protestors. Over 900 tear gas canisters were fired in total as protesters tried to disperse from the area. A total of 512 people were arrested and BERSIH 2.0 recorded at least 70 people were badly beaten up by unidentified police officers.

A delegation of international observers, including politicians from Australia, Pakistan and India called the rally “peaceful”, “festive” and “exemplary”.