To many today, the BN has lost the plot as this sort of mob disruption increases in frequency, writes Jeffrey in this eye-witness report.
… I was late and I was heading towards Esplanade in Penang on Sunday, 26 February 2012. After all, I had one and a half hours to kill, and so I decided to pay a visit to the Stop Lynas gathering there.
I was told that pro-Umno thugs had been dominating the Speakers’ Square at the Esplanade for the past few weeks. Each time, they dominated the floor and continue to harass speakers. I decided to go as I felt it was time to do so. I couldn’t imagine any trouble but I was wrong.
When I arrived, Chris from the DAP HQ rushed over and told me that there had been trouble. Pro-Umno thugs had come in to disrupt the talk, but the crowd continued to sit through even though the thugs continued to harass them. I was just surprised that the event was about to turn into a BN vs PR confrontation in a nasty way.
Kim Fei alerted me that the Chief Minister had arrived and we could see a group of the pro-Umno thugs heading towards the CM’s direction on the stage at Speakers’ Square. They continued to taunt him, “Balik Melaka! Cina Tak Guna! Cina Penang kena tipu!” They were only 10 feet away from the CM. The security personnel formed a barricade at the back of CM, and I was also there too. One of them shouted in my face whilst the rest continued taunting.
The situation was grave, and we were hoping the police would arrive. Unfortunately, they were nowhere to be found.
I was told that earlier, 100 youths on motorcycles had stormed the gathering and destroyed an exhibition set up near the stage. It was an explosive situation, and the unruly thugs started punching a reporter.
The CM was led away from the thugs but they continued to taunt him. The Anti-Lynas crowd totalling 500 people stood by and shouted at these thugs. You could see their frustrations but clearly, it appeared as if the police wanted the crowd to be taught a lesson. I kept on texting my Special Branch contact and he arrived towards the end of the rally.
The CM’s car was prevented from moving but we kept vigil to ensure he left safely. In the process, I was again spat at and punched in the stomach by the unruly mob totalling about 10 people. Most of them were UMNO supporters; I am sure they came to create a scene.
Unfortunately, this is now the brand of politics that Umno/MCA/MIC/Gerakan love to hold on to. To many today, the BN has lost the plot.
Jeffrey was in the thick of things amidst the chaotic scenes at the Esplanade.