Calling out to all who were at the Bar Council yesterday

Posted on April 29, 2012


My companions on the journey out to Duduk Bantah

Five of us took off a little after 11am by train.

Destination : Jalan Sultan.

Got down at the KL Sentral and legged it to Jalan Sultan.

Along the way, we kept running into clusters of policemen.

I greeted them with ‘Salam’ and they returned with the same.

Jalan Sultan turned yellow and green

When we reached Jalan Sultan, we found the entire street was jam-packed with Yellows & Greens.

A quick phone call to the ‘Headmaster’ and I was informed that the gang had moved to the Bar Council location. We were to head there too.

Made our way to the Bar Council. En route there, joined a group of protestors and we got into a ‘Hidup! Hidup! Hidup Rakyat’ chant.

Hidup Rakyat! Photo posted on Facebook by Alice Lee

When we reached the Bar Council, a carnival-like atmosphere prevailed.

Look at the photos of the folk who were out there and you will see that all were there to peacefully convey a message to Najib : We want free and fair elections.

Folk sitting at the Bar Council site

Folk sitting at the Bar Council site

Sure, the cops were there, in full force.

As was the barricade, barbed wire and all.

But it was all peaceful, notwithstanding the crowd being boisterous.

I tried urging those present to sit down and begin the Duduk Bantah.

Some did.

Others chose to continue to stand and move about.

Ah, well, it was their right.

Until 3pm, it seemed that the protest would end as it was intended – a peaceful one.

Then, some from the political parties came and urged those present to move to Jalan Tun Perak.

I declined.

I said that my Duduk Bantah had already begun and that I was not inclined to move.

Then we received word that the barricade at the junction of Jalan Tun Perak and Jalan Raja had been broken, that protestors were trying to make their way into Dataran Merdeka and that the police had opened fire with the water cannons and tear gas.

Now, something strange then happened.

I did not see who did it, or when, but the barricade at the Bar Council separating the protestors from the police had been completely removed and the first few rows of protestors had advanced to within 10 feet of the several rows of FRU.

I went to the front to access the situation and have to say that I was not comfortable with the state of things as, given the new proximity of the cops with the protestors, it would not take much to provoke one group to move against the other.

I then saw Andrew Khoo, a member of the Bersih steering committee. Given his formal attire, I think he was then with the Bar observer team.

I approached Andrew and urged that measures be taken to get the front row of protestors to step back 10 paces.

Andrew replied that nothing needed be done at that stage as the protestors were not doing anything provocative.

I went back to the others in our group to warn them of my worst fears when the warning bell on the police truck was sounded.

Then the mayhem started.

First the water cannons were unleashed.

Then the tear gas engulfed us.

The carnival atmosphere had vanished.

Peace was no more.

To those who were at the Bar Council yesterday, I need your help to resolve these burning questions for me.

Who removed the barricade? The cops or the protestors?

When the protestors were close up to the rows of FRU, was there any provocation by either the police or the protestors?

You can send in your information by way of comment or by email to