A group of Malaysians braved the cold and wintry January air to march across the city of London last Saturday, in solidarity with the Himpunan Kebangkitan Rakyat (People's Uprising Rally) in Kuala Lumpur.
"They waved banners and flags, chanted calls for clean elections and read out the speech by Bersih 2.0 chief Ambiga Sreenevasen calling for Malaysian nationals abroad to return for the election and help participate in observing the elections as Citizen Election Observers," reported anti-Sarawak Chief Minister Taib Mahmud website Sarawak Report .
Gathering inspiration from the over 100,000 people that gathered at Merdeka Stadium, the London 'Himpunan' crowd marched from Trafalgar Square down to Downing Street and then to Parliament House at Westminster.
The group was shadowed by a bunch of cops, though they took no action other then helping to direct traffic, which for once mirrored similar courteous Royal Malaysian Police (PDRM) facilitation of the 'Himpunan' rally in Malaysia.
Malaysians overseas rallied in support of the opposition-sponsored 'Himpunan', most notably in London and Jordan. However, the overseas response seems lukewarm in comparison to last year's global rallies in conjunction with the politically independent Bersih 3.0 rally.
Over 100,000 Malaysians converged on Merdeka Stadium on Saturday to answer the call of the opposition Pakatan Rakyat for 'one million' to gather and express displeasure at BN's rule.
Thirty thousand of them crammed into the seats while over 80 thousand others jammed inside the stadium's oval upon the field, while others less lucky had to wait outside the iconic national monument.
Arguably the second largest rally to date after last year's Bersih 3.0, the rally was a watershed in recent history as Malaysian police, true to inspector-general of police (IGP) Ismail Omar's word, kept the peace and merely facilitated the incident-free rally.
RM262,000 donations received
Meanwhile at home, rally secretariat member Hishamuddin Rais posted on his blog Tukar Tiub, that the KL112 organisers have collected RM262,000 in donations to cover the Stadium Merdeka event costs.
"This money represents the contributions of the public who managed to meet with those collecting donations.
"Thank you all who have turned up, and thanks to all who have donated," said the activist-artist.
During the Saturday rally, PAS vice president Mohamad Sabu ( left, with Hishamuddin ) joked about the fake SMS that had been circulated that the payment for participants to attend the rally was ready for collection at PKR's headquarters.
"Did anyone pay you RM150?" he asked the crowd, who responded, "No!"
"I do not intend to pay you RM150, but I would like to ask funds from you, ladies and gentlemen. I would like to ask for donations," he said during the rally that drew at least 100,000.