1:46PM Aug 23, 2012
An enronmental group in Pahang has agreed to shift its Sept 2 anti-gold mine demonstration to a football field after its application to hold the rally at Dataran Raub was rejected by the Raub District Council.
According to a Sin Chew Daily report, committee chairperson Wong Kin Hoong (left) said the committee had no choice but to accept the police suggestion.
“The committee of ‘Raub Sept 2 Himpunan Hijau’ will meet with the district police chief again on Aug 27 to sign a rally agreement,” Wong is quoted as saying.
He said the committee has also agreed to the police request that participants do not bring children aged 15 and below to the rally.
The committee was formed by Bukit Koman residents who maintain that a local gold mine using cyanide, a highly toxic chemical, has caused them various illnesses but the Health Ministry says it cannot confirm this.
The Sept 2 rally – dubbed Himpunan Hijau Raub – is the culmination of five years of protest against the use of cyanide in the gold mine.
The local council rejected the committee’s application to use Dataran Raub for its gathering on grounds that the venue had already been booked for another activity.
Sin Chew Daily reported that police would handle the rally application according to the Peaceful Assembly Act 2012.
Organisers expect 20,000 turnout
“I will reply to the committee on Aug 27 as stated by the law. According to its notice, the rally will be held from 2pm to 4pm, and 10,000 people are expected to turn up,” Wan Mohd Samsudin is quoted as saying.
However, Himpunan Hijau publicity director Shirley Hue expects the crowd to hit 20,000 on that day including 20 busloads of supporters from Kuantan.
Cyanide is used to extract gold from tailings – waste material from previous mining – and oxide deposits at the mine.
The residents of Kampung Baru Bukit Koman, which is located next to the mine, have complained that the fumes from processing activities at the mine have caused a long list of health problems.
They have tried to take legal action against the well-connected miners but their suit has been thrown out by the court.