Last year, on November 10th, 40,000 Malaysians attended the BERSIH Rally, the civil society coalition for a clean and fair elections. The coalition started out as a Joint Action Committee for Electoral Reform, formed in July 2005. Now, the coalition’s objective is to push for a thorough reform of the electoral process in Malaysia, including a freer and fairer press.
An anniversary rally was organised this year, not only to commemorate one of the biggest protest marches held in Malaysia, but to also celebrate the release of Raja Petra Kamaruddin (RPK), who had been held in detention without trial. What transpired that evening turned out to be much more than just a candlelight vigil that had been planned.
Apparently, there were roadblocks throughout Petaling Jaya, the suburbs on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur. A vigil to free Raja Petra Kamaruddin had been held in a field in the suburbs every week since his detention. Since his release, the vigil was to be held together with the BERSIH one-year rally.
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