Bersih 4 was much more than a call for electoral reform – it was also a reoccupation of public space and a step towards participatory democracy.
On September 29 and 30, hundreds of thousands of Malaysians showed up in defiance of the Peaceful Assembly Act 2012 and the Home Minister’s comical ban on Bersih’s yellow T-shirt. Bersih 2.0 chairman Maria Chin Abdullah claimed that the rally was not only a success but also a historic event: “The people’s presence in KL, which we estimate to be about 500,000 over the span of 34 hours, is a loud and clear show of support of our demands,” she said.
Indeed, Bersih 4 was a significant event in our history because it is probably the first ever massive, peaceful and overnight street demonstration in the heart of KL. More than that, Bersih 4 is different from previous Bersih rallies in at least one other thing: the people’s participation in reclaiming public spaces.
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