Peaceful assembly at Penang event. Police absent

Penang protests: about 100 people at Speaker’s Corner demonstrating against the Peaceful Assembly Bill

Penang launched a Local Democracy Month on Monday evening followed by a peaceful assembly of about 100 people at Speaker’s Corner, at the Esplanade, on the eve of the final reading of the federal government’s Peaceful Assembly Bill.

Uniformed police were reportedly absent at the peaceful assembly. But it is not known if the bully boys of the Special Branch goon squad stayed away. (After all, to them, everything and anything that ordinary people do or say or think is illegal.)

If there truly were no police at the event it would be most remarkable.

A year ago, when Speaker’s Corner was new, Penang SB’s goons found it worth their while to spend three hours video-taping every action and every word of breast-feeding campaigners talking to the usual Sunday evening crowd of elderly men who lepak at the Esplanade.

Maybe the SB bully boys have got used to the idea that people talking in public about democracy or breastfeeding aren’t actually plotting a revolution. Not even when they stand up and complain about stupid and crooked politicians, stupid crooked policemen or crooked government servants.

Or maybe they were busy helping the rent-a-crowd numbskulls of Penang Umno to plot the next counter-democracy event and anti-state government event. They pay better.

Local Democracy Month has the aims of encouraging people to be active in discussing, planning and carrying out policies and services in Penang and local communities; to know more about how local government and State government works.

Events planned include: an anti-racism workshop, citizen education workshop, street busking, photography competition and a Youth Parliament.

The campaign was launched by State executive councillor and MP for Tanjung, Chow Kon Yeow, who has responsibilites for local government.

A peaceful assembly against the Peaceful Assembly Bill followed, with Dr Toh Kin Woon of SERI-Penang Institute and Jason Ong, the assemblyman for Kebun Bunga, speaking out strongly against the Bill and on the importance of upholding the people’s right to freely assemble.

The Local Democracy event was organised by the state government, human rights group Suaram Penang, Sembang-Sembang Forum, Campus Ministry Office, Amnesty International Malaysia, KOMAS, People’s Green Coalition and SERI-Penang Institute.
Details and photos from a posting by Master Wordsmith Unplugged.


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