Saturday, 23 June 2012 22:10
KUANTAN – Hundreds of funeral banners and makeshift billboards were “planted” on Balok beach as Himpunan Hijau kicked off its 24-hour anti-Lynas rally here.
The Occupy Balok-Gebeng event started with the group’s chairman Wong Tack making a fiery speech before a crowd of several hundreds.
“Today is the beginning. Today, we galvanise our forces from all across the nation. We occupy Balok and then the whole nation,” he said at the launch of the event at 1.15pm Saturday.
Joining the rally were activists from the Ban Cyanide-Gold Mining in Bukit Koman movement and Perak Anti-Radioactive Action Committee.
The crowd moved towards the beach and placed hundreds of wreaths, funeral banners and dozens of mock coffins in front of a giant banner depicting the Lynas rare earth refinery.
Wong challenged the authorities to issue the full operating licence immediately if it was so sure the project was safe.
This was the fourth anti-Lynas rally organised by Himpunan Hijau in less than a year. The rally will culminate with the group gathering in front of the Lynas plant in Gebeng on Sunday.
Pahang police chief DCP Datuk Sharifuddin Ab Ghani said the rally was held in a private area and the protesters did not disturb anyone.
However, he said the protesters were not allowed to gather in Gebeng Sunday, pointing out: “They know the law and we have tried to advise them.”
Earlier in the week, Parliamentary Select Committee in its report concluded that the company should be awarded a temporary operating licence (TOL) after finding that it had met the requirements.
It was reported that Lynas could be awarded the TOL before the end of this year, allowing it to start operations at its rare earths plant – if it fulfils all seven licensing conditions set by the Science, Technology and Innovation Ministry.