Thousands converging at meeting points in KL hours ahead of ICERD rally start

Thousands converging at meeting points in KL hours ahead of ICERD rally start

KUALA LUMPUR,.Groups of people in white have already started to gather at pockets in the city, with at least 2,000 people at the corner fronting Sogo on Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman here at 10am.

Many of those attending the rally to thank the government for not ratifying the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD) were in the city as early as 6am.

The crowd is expected to make their way to Dataran Merdeka for the rally proper at 2pm.

At about 10am, the loudspeakers were fired up, with prayers and then words of motivation being blasted out to those already here.

Anti-ICERD protesters gather at Masjid Jamek in Kuala Lumpur December 8, 2018. — Pictures by Mukhriz Hazim

Police presence is also apparent in the areas surrounding the mall, with traffic and CID officers on standby.

For drinks vendor Muhamad Azniel Ridzuan, 25, running a business meant coming into the city even earlier, at about 4.30am.

“I came early to get parking in the mall, as I knew the roads would be closed today.

“I could see people trickling in around 6am, with some busses entering the city at that time,” he said.

Muhamad Azniel, who hails from Selayang, said he was confident of finishing his stock of drinks today seeing the huge crowd that is expected here for the rally.

The rally which was originally planned to protest the ratification of ICERD was repurposed as a “thanksgiving” event to celebrate Putrajaya’s decision not to ratify the United Nation convention.

Organised by Umno, PAS, a coalition of Malay-Muslim groups Ummah and the newly-formed National Sovereignty Secretariat (Daulat), the event targeted to gather a crowd of 500,000 people, who were asked to be dressed in white.