9:08AM Mar 2, 2012
About 100 journalists gathered outside the Police headquarters in Penang yesterday calling for immediate action into the case of their two colleagues injured during Sunday’s anti-Lynas rally.
The journalists who work in both alternative and mainstream media wore black as a symbol of their sadness over the incident which involved their friends fromKwong Wah Jit Poh – Adam Chew and Lee Hong Chun.
Special branch officers were among the journalists, but the police allowed the peaceful gathering for 30 minutes.
The duo were caught in a fracas which broke out after Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng delivered his speech at the Speakers Square rally.
The journalist fraternity had assembled to hand over a petition signed by 249 of them from various media organisations to state Police Chief Ayub Yaacob.
No to violence on journalists
Ayub, however, is away on official duty in Kuala Lumpur, and the one-page memorandum was received by a representative.
The petition was prepared by the Penang Press Club, Penang Chinese Media Journalist and Photographers Association, Journalist Union Of North Malaya, Penang Press Employee’s Society Ltd. and Seberang Perai Press Association.
The group carried placards reading, “no to violence to journalists on duty”, “A reporter was hurt during a demonstration on 1 July 2011, it has been seven months, what happened?” and “Two reporters were hurt during the anti-Lynas rally, where are the police?”.
Spokesperson for the group, Bryan Lai Thiem Wah (above), said the journalists are not here to create chaos or to rally.
“We are not allowing any politician or NGO representatives to make a statement today. But we thank the NGOs who have been monitoring the situation for us,” added the journalist from Nanyang Siang Pau.
On donning black, Lai said that it was a show of solidarity and sadness for all those journalists hurt or injured while on duty.
Broken free from somnolence
“Also, we have not done enough before when our friends are hurt. We have only been sending letters and memoranda. This time we are gathering to express our feelings.” he added.
The Esplanade event was organised by human rights NGO – Suaram – in solidarity with the Himpunan Hijau 2.0 protest in Kuantanagainst potential radioactive hazard by Gebeng’s Australian based Lynas Advance Material Plant.
15,000 participants turned out for the Kuantan rally, with large gatherings in Perak and Kuala Lumpur as well but only the Penang leg, participated in by about 500, was disrupted.