After Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) turned down the request to use Dataran Merdeka for Bersih 4, the electoral refvortm movement announced that protesters will now sleep on the streets of the nation’s capital.
"Due to the sudden unavailability of Dataran Merdeka and Padang Merbok, the participants will have to rest overnight on the streets of Kuala Lumpur," Bersih chairperson Maria Chin Abdullah said today.
Maria said Bersih has confirmed, through a telephone call to DBKL, that both Dataran Merdeka and Padang Merbok had not been committed for activities prior to the announcing of the rally date by Bersih.
"Thus, we were surprised when DBKL informed us they will hold an event in Dataran Merdeka," she added.
Maria said Bersih was also informed that tents and sleeping bags are not permitted on the streets of Kuala Lumpur, and enforcement action would be taken if warranted.
"Bersih withdraws its earlier request for participants to bring tents. Instead, we now ask participants to bring sleeping bags, blankets and umbrellas, in addition to food and drink.
"We call upon DBKL to humanely accept this decision.
"We are happy that DBKL has said CCTV cameras will be in operation, and we call upon DBKL to make the full recordings available to the public," Maria added.
Respect Merdeka Day preparations
She reiterated that participants would respect all barriers and the Merdeka Day preparations organised by the authorities.
"We stressed to DBKL and the police who attended the meeting that Bersih 4 will be a peaceful assembly.
"We were disappointed that DBKL and the police continue to adopt the position that the organisers of prior Bersih assemblies were responsible for damages and litter," she said.
To this, she said they would contact Alam Flora to arrange for additional large rubbish bins for depositing rubbish collected by volunteers.
Bersih has called for an overnight rally amidst the 1MDB fiasco and RM2.6 billion political donation Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak received.
Maria announced that Bersih 4 is a manifestation of the rakyat's voice of no confidence vote agaisnt Najib and the political system.
She reminded DBKL and the police to review the findings contained in the June 24 High Court judgment, in which the government failed in its bid to claim damages from the organisers of Bersih 3 rally.
She also reminded the duo about the recommendations and findings which Suhakam made after conducting its own independent inquiry.
"The police should not renege on their duty to control crowds and should refrain from inciting the crowds.
"We are committed to ensuring the safety of Bersih 4 participants and to avoid needless confrontation with the authorities," Maria added.
PKR to mobilise 20,000
Meanwhile, PKR pledges its full support for Bersih 4 rally and will mobilise 20,000 party members to take part.
Bersih 4 is expected to become the biggest rally, amidst the political and economic crises, where the rakyat have lost confidence against the prime minster, said Rafizi Ramli, PKR secretary-general.
"I have issued a circular to all levels of the leadership and all the branches to mobilise the party," he said.
Party vice-presidents Nurul Izzah Anwar and Tian Chua will brief the leadership and lawmakers to ensure the targeted number of party members hit the street.
The party was invited to provide security services in ensuring the smooth running of the rally.
The youth wing began training its 700 volunteers two weeks ago, he said.
All the senior leaders will be assigned shifts and stationed at the five locations, he said.
The party will ramp up its efforts to promote the rally in the final week, said Rafizi.
He said it will launch three promotional videos - one every three days beginning today - to urge the public to join Bersih 4.
Party members have also been told to change their social media profile picture to Bersih 4 and PKR de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim.
They are encouraged to conduct nationwide flash-mob and hit-and-run talks in the run-up to Bersih 4, to attratct the youth to join the rally.
"We are confident that the more the rakyat hit the street, the successful the rally will be in making history. The zero hour of Aug 31 onward will be remembered as the moment the rakyat seek to clean up the political practice," he said.