By this time, more than half a million Malaysians have rallied in support of the #black505 movement to protest the fraudulent results of GE13. For the uninitiated, #black505 is about:
- Demanding the Election Commission head and deputy to resign, for carrying out these grievous frauds in GE13.
- The boycott of BN media, for attempting to create racial disunity.
- Relections to be held in 30+ close margin races during GE13.
- Najib, the minority PM, and Anwar, the true prime minister.
The rallies, which have already visited Kelana Jaya, Petaling Jaya, Kuantan, Batu Kawan, Seremban, Ulu Tiram, Sarang Semut, and Melaka, will now come to capital city Kuala Lumpur on June 15. Everyone wears black, and the rallies are peaceful with a carnival atmosphere.
The name of the game is nonviolence, and protesters have so far refused to fight back against police. The police, in turn, have been rather tame, refusing to appear on-scene. When they do appear, the strategy of the protesters is to immediately surrender without putting up a fight.
The police are not, however, entirely willing to recognize the democratic rights of the people. Various opposition leaders have been charged in court for illegal assembly, and five people have been arrested (and released):
- Adam Adli, student activist
- Safwan Anang, president of SMM
- Haris Ibrahim, leader of ABU
- Tamrin Ghafar, PAS member and son of ex-DPM
- Tian Chua, PKR MP of Batu
Also 18 people (4 of them women) were arrested during the Jinjang solidarity for Adam Adli but were released immediately.
An unnamed woman in Ampang was arrested for “insulting the King” on Facebook.
The Game of Rallies
Since this game has been going on for awhile, it is time to take note of the current positions on the battlefield.
- Not a single one of #black505′s demands have been met.
- Not a single one of the 500,000 protesters are currently detained. Everyone is roaming free.
- Not a single incidence of protesters violently assaulting a policeman.
- Several incidences of police brutality, all of them occuring during the Jinjang Solidarity for Adam Adli.
Therefore both the protesters and police have preserved their strength. On the BN side, the strategy is:
- Wait for protesters to tire out and go home.
- Use the media monopoly to deny any election fraud took place, and to demonize street rallies.
- Arrest mid-level leaders and let them go in order to intimidate the opposition.
The PR side has the following strategy:
- Visit every part of Malaysia.
- Emphasize how peaceful every rally is, especially when the police are absent.
- Use social media to spread evidence of election fraud, and to invite people to more rallies.
- Avoid street rallies and hold rallies indoors, in order to minimize traffic disturbance.
- Volunteer to get arrested and to plead “Not Guilty” whenever charged in court.
Non-Violence: Is it Working?
One consequence of this deliberate non-violence is that the rallies don’t appear to change anything in the BN regime. It does not threaten their police power, or their ability to sit in the Prime Minister’s chair, or the Election Commission’s ability to cheat in GE14. However, to conclude that they are entirely harmless is wrong.
- BN’s legitimacy continues to be tarnished. They have no legitimacy in the eyes of the people.
- BN’s media becomes increasingly weakened, with people becoming immune to the lies.
- Racial unity strengthens during the rally.
- BN is increasingly unable to restrict democratic rights to rally. Although the PAA and Sedition Act outlaws these rallies, BN cannot enforce their provisions. Thus the people have gained “de facto freedom”.
Furthermore, the protest movement has avoided the harms associated with violent revolution:
- The injury and deaths of hundreds of people that can occur if police and protesters were to clash.
- The collapse of the stock market, economy (jobs), and tourism that surely follows a revolution.
- The demonization of protesters, that will occur if they are filmed throwing bricks at policemen (as is occuring in Turkey).
Therefore, it is clear that the rallies have a positive impact on Malaysia. These positive effects alone, are good enough reason for the rallies to continue. But while they have positive effects, they will also fail to accomplish their 4 objectives, which I outlined in the first paragraph.
It is therefore time for PR to consider other strategies, in addition to rallying, which are of similar non-violent character, but will actually be effective in overturning the fraud of GE13.