LIVE: Standoff between red-shirts and police

Modified 5 Nov 2016, 9:25 am

The red-shirts movement led by Sungai Besar Umno division head Jamal Md Yunos are currently demonstrating near Malaysiakini's office this afternoon.

They are protesting against the funding of several local groups by Open Society Foundation (OSF), a grant making organisation run by billionaire George Soros.

According to Jamal, Soros was responsible for the Asian Financial Crisis in 1997 and funded revolutions in many countries throughout the world.

He said the OSF was trying to meddle with Malaysia's electoral process.

Initially, the red-shirts were supposed to gather today at Dataran Merdeka as a prelude to their Nov 19 counter-rally against Bersih 5.

The authorities have banned them from gathering at Dataran Merdeka and therefore the group chose to rally at Malaysiakini's office instead.

Police from the Petaling Jaya police district and Federal Reserve Unit have been surrounding the PJ51 Business Park, where Malaysiakini and several other businesses are located, since morning.

LIVE reports follow:

5.20pm: This concludes our live report. Reporting by Zikri Kamarulzaman, Alyaa Azhar, Shakira Buang, Alyaa Alhadjri and Kow Gah Chie.

4.50pm: Malaysiakini editor-in-chief Steven Gan thanks police for taking the threat by Jamal to demolish the news portal's office seriously.

"I'm glad the police took it seriously and deployed enough police personnel," he tell reporters after the rally.

Gan says his organisation respects the red-shirts right to assemble, but urged them to also respect the rights of others to speak their mind.

He rubbishes notions that Malaysiakini's editorial policy is influenced by outsiders, including the Media Development Investment Fund (MDIF) which owns a 29 percent stake.

He adds MDIF had to sign a non-interference agreement when the were made stakeholders.

"They have no editorial input," he says.

4.30pm: Speaking to reporters later, Jamal says the building was still intact because his rally had limit the crowd to just "10,000 people".

On whether will be more protests, he says: “Maybe everyday”.

Before he leaves, Jamal manages helps himself to a takeaway pack.

"I’m famished," he says, while eating his packet of rice along the road side.

4.15pm: Jamal says that he was informed by police that Malaysiakini's management and staff have "fled" the office.

"The only one who are left are foreign workers serving as guards and toilet cleaners," he tells the media.

He then says that the red-shirts are prepared to not rally on Nov 19 if Bersih does the same.

"But if they continue, we are prepared to rally, even if there is a confrontation between the reds and the yellows," he adds.

He then leads the crowd in dispersing.

4.11pm: Jamal finally persuades the protestors to call it a day and disperse. 

At least two water bottles were thrown at the police. 

Jamal is now holding a press conference. 

4.00pm: The police are holding back the red-shirts from 50m from the entrance of Malaysiakini's office.

Most of those in the crowd are getting restless, shouting "rempuh (charge)" and "move, move".

The red-shirts at the front are calling for calm. 

Jamal can be heard shouting: "We are not here to fight with our brothers who are keeping the peace."

He calls on Malaysiakini's management to come out to meet them. The crowd chants in agreement. 

3.50pm: Jamal leads the protestors into the PJ51 Business Park compound and is approaching the police barrier.

"Let's march there to show that we are really serious," he says.

Jamal says that the group did not reach the target number of 20,000 people because they were "law-abiding citizens". 

"If it reached 20,000 people, apart from the building being destroyed, all of Malaysiakini's enterprises will be closed down," he says.

They are currently in a standoff with the police. 

3.45pm: A silat demonstration is currently underway as a prelude to Jamal's speech.

Several martial arts practitioners are being hit with 2x4 wood as part of a demonstration of their strength and "invincibility".

Jamal warns spectators to form a wide berth as they are not insured against the planks hitting them.

3.35pm: The din of vuvuzelas greets Jamal as he finally arrives. Accompanying him is Jaringan Melayu Malaysia (JMM) president Azwandin Hamzah.

"We will close down Malaysiakini. We will bury Malaysiakini!" Azwandin tells the crowd, who shout 'betul' (yes) in agreement.

His speech is followed by the screening of a video about George Soros.

3.25pm: There are at least 500 red-shirts in the vicinity. More are disembarking from buses. 

One man tells Malaysiakini that his group, numbering at around 100, came from Kepong.

Police are turning away buses, forcing most protestors to walk. 

3.05pm: Umno Youth exco member Armand Azha Abu Hanifa addresses the crowd from the back of a truck, telling them that there are here to protest against Malaysiakini for taking Jewish funds.

However, he says the red-shirts respects the media and police.

"We will respect the media, if the media respects us.

"Write the truth, don't spin and write fake news. This is not a racist rally, it is a nationalist rally," he adds.

2.45pm: The crowd is now numbering at about 300 people and are chanting several anti-Bersih and anti-Malaysiakini slogans.

A man addresses the crowd and says that the group represents all Malaysians, regardless of race, in their opposition towards Bersih 5.

There are at least two non-Malays in the group.

One of them, who calls himself Anil, says he is from Ipoh and was part of the rally to defend the Federal Constitution.

Asked if he supports Jamal, Anil says: "Yes. We support the government".

2:30pm: One young red-shirts member says his 300-strong group, many of which are teenagers, were from Meru.

They have been here since noon. Many were wearing scarves with the words "Himpunan maruah Melayu (Malay pride gathering)" to cover their faces.

One protestor, who identified himself as Faiz, 15, tells Malaysiakini they were bussed in.

Another protestor who identified himself as Haziq, 14, is unsure of the purpose of the rally.

"I don't know. Someone asked me to come along," he says.

Some of them are holding placards which read: "Protect the government chosen by the people".

Another, accompanied by a photograph of Bersih supporters stepping on photographs of Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak and PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang, read: "The Malays still remember".

2.20pm: Sporadic chants of "tutup Malaysiakini (close down Malaysiakini)" and "hancur Malaysiakini (destroy Malaysiakini)" rings out.

One banner reads "Maria Chin & Bersih 5 boneka Soros & Cina DAP (Maria Chin and Bersih 5 are the stooges of Soros and the DAP Chinese)".

Another banner reads: "Kami sedia bertempur (we are ready for battle)".

In the absence of their leader, the red-shirts do not appear very coordinated.

2.15pm: A group of middle-aged women from Sungai Buloh appear to be in the dark of the purpose of the rally.

"We're not sure. Perhaps we are here to support the Malays," one red-clad women tells Malaysiakini.

There are about 80 people in her group.

2.10pm: Red-shirts are now numbering at around 200 while their leader Jamal has yet to show up.

Some of red-shirts are sporadically chanting "hapus Bersih (wipe out Bersih)" and "hidup merah (long live the reds)".

1.50pm: A firecracker goes off outside PJ51 Business Park.

Some 100 red-shirts are gathering further down the entrance from the main entrance, and are having packed lunch by the road.

Most of them are youths.

1.45pm: Some of the red-shirts arrive in several rental buses.

There are several individuals outside the PJ51 Business Park selling rain coats and red scarves. 

Police personnel position themselves around the vicinity. There is a water cannon truck parked inside the compound.

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