Monday, September 3, 2012
Anti-cyanide rally turns into street march
The sea of green flooded the streets as the protesters made their way to the gold mine from the Jalan Bukit Koman Sports Complex field, waving placards and flags.
Himpunan Hijau Raub (HHR) organising committee chairman Wong Kin Hoong said the organisers waited until 3:30pm for a representative from the mine operators to show up at the rally before mobilising the crowd to move towards the gold mine.
"A representative met us halfway on the road, but he was the chief of security and not a top executive as we had asked for.
"We handed over the memorandum to Raub district police chief Wan Mohd Samsudin Wan Osman, who said he would hand it over to the chairman of the company," Wong told a press conference after the rally ended at around 5pm.
"We are giving RAGM seven days to comply with our demands in the memorandum, failing which we may have another rally," he said.
Anti-cyanide protesters have been opposing the use of cyanide in gold mining for the past six years, claiming that many people have developed skin diseases and respiratory health issues since the mine began operations a decade ago.
"It is time the people stand up and fight; we are not going to give up on this and we will keep coming back until cyanide usage is stopped," Wong said.
HHR vice-chairman Sherly Hue reiterated that the NGO is not against mining or profit-making, but said the people's health must not be compromised in the process.
"We sent invitation letters to Raub MP Datuk Seri Ng Yen Yen as well as Pahang Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Adnan Yaakob, but they did not show up," she said.
Describing the rally as a success, Hue said: "There were around 15,000 people from all over the country who had come, and we hope this sends a signal to the government to act fairly and in the interest of the people."
The crowd began trickling in before noon to pick shady spots on the open field, and by 2pm some 5,000 people had gathered.
It was a carnival-like atmosphere, and many food stalls had sprung up along the trail leading to the field and free water was being distributed to rally-goers.
More than 10 speakers from various NGOs and political parties spoke during the two-hour rally, calling for an end to the use of cyanide or a full shutdown of the mine, to the cheers and claps of the enthusiastic crowd.
Among those who addressed the crowds were Bersih 2.0 steering committee member Maria Chin Abdullah, opposition leader Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, Parti Sosialis Malaysia deputy president. M. Sarasvathy, Save Malaysia Stop Lynas chairman Tan Bun Teet, and PAS information chief Datuk Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man.
Meanwhile, Wan Samsudin said the rally was largely peaceful and the light police presence was in order to direct traffic and maintain order.
"To rally is a guaranteed right of the people under the Peaceful Assembly Act 2012.
"We will hold a post-mortem analysis with the HHR committee to analyse the rally and identify ways to improve any future public gatherings," he said.
He also said he would forward the protestors' memorandum to RAGM "very soon".
About Me ｜简介
- Bukit Koman ｜武吉公满
- Kami adalah penduduk yang dilahirkan dan dibesarkan di Bukit Koman, Raub. Sememangnya, kami seharusnya dapat menikmati rahmat yang ditakdirkan, iaitu tinggal dengan aman. Namun, ketenteraman dan kesihatan penduduk tergugat apabila apabila lombong emas yang bersebelahan dengan rumah kediaman kami mengguna Sodium Cyanide dalam perlombongan. Ratusan penduduk mengadu tentang masalah kesihatan dalam tempoh 1 bulan selepas lombong emas mula beroperasi pada Febuari 2009. Kami tidak dapat lagi bertoleransi dengan ancaman ini. Untuk menjamin keselamatan ahli keluarga tersayang dan masa depan generasi kami yang akan datang, kami sanggup melakukan apa sahaja demi mempertahankan keamanan dan keselamatan kampung halaman kami. 我们是在劳勿武吉公满土生土长数十年的普通居民。本已到了知天命之年，奈何眼见挚爱的家园因为山埃的入侵，面临沦为“毒村”的致命威胁，我们决定站出来，抗战到底！为了我们爱惜的家人，为了我们的下一代，背水一战，决不妥协！ Email：bancyanide@Gmail.com Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BanCyanideInGoldMining