#KitaLawan is a weekly demonstration which was organized by “Parti Keadilan Rakyat”- one of the three opposition parties in Malaysia.
The first #KitaLawan demonstration took place on 28th February 2015 and has expanded worldwide. People in Canberra, Adelaide, Melbourne, Taipei, Shanghai, New York, London and of course Kuala Lumpur- Malaysia´s capital- got together to demonstrate for the release of opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, who was jailed for sodomy, but also to call for Prime Minister Najib Razak’s resignation on 7th March 2015.
A few days before the #KitaLawan demonstration took place, the Malaysian police warned that it´s an illegal rally, because “it includes speeches which may turn out to be seditious and actions that could be deemed as being a threat to the government”.
Nevertheless, on 7th March 5000 until 10.000 Malaysians assembled for this huge demonstration in Kuala Lumpur. Among them were political party operatives, student activists, environmentalists, electoral freedom advocates, tax reformists and citizens who are dissatisfied with the government and the political system.
Slogans were “Kita Lawan!”, “Undur Najib!” (= “withdraw Najib!”) and “Bebas Anwar” (= “Free Anwar!”).
Although police didn´t take action during the first #KitaLawan demonstration, key members of Pakatan Rakyat (= Malaysian opposition) were arrested the next day.
Among them have been key figures like Kelana Jaya PKR (= People´s Justice Party) Youth chief Saifullah Zulkifli (who was arrested on 7th March), PKR’s Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad (8th March), Rafizi Ramli and Fariz Musa (both were arrested on 10th March).
Others were PAS (Parti Islam Se- Malaysia) member Mohd Fakhrulrazi Mohd Mokhtar (who was arrested on 11th March),
DAP (= Democratic Action Party) Youth leader Teo Kok Seng, Bersih (=Electoral Watchdog) secretariat member Mandeep Singh and activist Adam Adli (all three were arrested on 14th March). Adam Adli was arrested for the second time within three weeks.
Reasons for Mandeep Singh´s and Adam Adli´s arrests were participating in the demonstration as well as allegedly damaging flower pots in front of the Sogo Shopping centre. Although the regular investigation time takes 24 hours Teo Kok Seng, Mandeep Singh and Adam Adli have been detained for four days.
PKR vice-president Nurul Izzah Anwar, who´s the daughter of Anwar Ibrahim, has been arrested on 16th March as well. Police is investigating her over a speech which she gave in the parliament and in which she criticised the judiciary that upheld Anwar Ibrahim´s conviction for sodomy.
The police is clearly misusing it´s given power by arresting those people. Although no laws were broken, Inspector-General of Police- Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar- has issued a warning saying that all those who have participated in the rally would be “hunted down”. It looks like a witch- hunt. While those people haven´t harm anyone- just take a look at the government!- they´re treated like criminals. While people who committed serious crimes (e.g. rape cases) are running around freely, arrests hit motivating, inspiring and libertarian people the most.
But #KitaLawan also shows that the struggle for justice and freedom will be continued, that Malaysians- independent of race, religion or political background- get together to voice out against this system and that the opposition isn´t broken although it´s political leader has been imprisoned. It shows courage, anger, a deep wish for reforms and clearly fear of the government, who is acting in such a way.
Hidup Rakyat! (= Long live the people!)