Risking everything, Malaysians text, tweet as protests turn violent

The Internet is bringing Bersih pro-reform protests to computer screens, iPads and smartphones worldwide -- as young activists risk their lives, using the social media to demand democracy.

BY: Rob Kerby, Senior Editor

 

Continued from page 2

the gangsters and rowdies of the day. It was a horrifying scene to see protesters with blood on their bodies and faces, injured and being beaten by the police.”

Stanley took refuge in a restaurant in nearby Jalan Tun Perak. From there he posted: “I am trapped in restaurant. Over 20 policemen tried to break through to arrest me. I was threatened with violence. They’re now waiting for me to come out.”

“We were there for a half hour when officers chasing protesters noticed me sitting inside, wearing a Bersih t-shirt. The restaurant owner had locked all the doors preventing anyone from entering. Around 20 police officers kicked the glass door and tried to break it open to get me.

“I was terrified. The anger and the evil looks on their faces was so clear that I started praying in my heart for God to intervene.

“They then shouted for me to surrender. I knew if I went out, I would be beaten to my death. I refused and went to the back of the restaurant. I accidentally opened the back door, thinking it was a toilet.”

Five policemen outside tried to rush in.

 “I immediately tried to close the door. Five of them were forcing the door against me and managed to open it. They then entered to get me, but were distracted by a few other protesters outside the restaurant who were running away.”

A wall poster for the Bersih rally in London

So, in what Stanley cites as an act of God, the police chased after the running protesters “and the door was closed, locked. Thank God for that.

“I remained in the restaurant for about one hour before leaving. A tourist and other guests were terrified. There was even a reporter, but he could not take out his camera to snap pictures fearing that if the police got in, they would break his camera.

“For the first time ever, I felt scared in my own country.”

As he made his way back home to Penang, “I was so relieved to get away.”

And he had a word of defiance, which he posted on Facebook: “We have awakened and we demand change! We will no longer tolerate lies, injustices, corruption, abuses and evil acts. We will decide on the future of this country. The main call to free and fair elections must be adhered. We will continue to rise if the government fails to fulfill our demands.

“We are now stronger because we have united! United as one family. One Malaysian family!”

Protests are continuing.

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