Over the weekend, while certain people were busy being unintentionally ignorant of the going ons around them, the streets of KL were abuzz with a peaceful rally against the ISA. Now, the keyword here is peaceful, and although we know that things can turn from peaceful to nasty in a matter of seconds (for instance the lion which seems so docile but suddenly decides to attack it's trainer), the police actually started with roadblocks on Friday night itself.
On Saturday, apparently even more police personnel were deployed to various areas where the rally was supposed to take place and there was even backing up from the FRU. It's interesting to note that demonstrations/rallies/marches/protests are deemed illegal in this beloved nation of ours, and therefore despite the numerous press releases and the assurance that this one was going to be peaceful (after all, it is a large group of people marching to give a memorandum to the palace) it was still illegal, and therefore the people who took part in it had water cannons and tear gas thrown at them even before they got unruly. In the end over 400 people were arrested for peaceful marching.
As I was scanning through the many articles written on my favourite socio-political website - Malaysia Today, and one particular article caught my eye. It states that the Minister of the Federal Territory claims that the losses for that day, due to the rally costs RM 100 million to RM 200 million. Of course this claim was quietly but efficiently put down by RPK himself like a hired assassin doing an incredibly clean job.
Now, regardless if that is the exact quantity of losses or not, what crosses my mind is that if the police and/or FRU had not fired the water cannons and tear gas, the rally or march to the palace would have been peaceful and the memorandum would have been passed on to the palace without any skirmish or arrests. Even the people not involved in the march would have been brave enough to visit the area and go shopping at the shops that allegedly lost their income that Saturday. It's like how violence has to be met with violence. If the people in the rally had turned unruly then only the use of tear gas or the water cannons can be justified. Why make an unruly mob out of something that was not-really-a-mob in the first place? Just a thought to ponder upon...
Note: This post was written mostly yesterday afternoon and had to be put on hold while I did other things that took me far away from the internet. The continuation today seems a bit weird as I had actually forgotten what this post was really supposed to be about!