An ad-hoc candlelight vigil at the Kuantan port last night in protest against Lynas Corporation drew some 400 supporters and half as many hecklers on motorbikes.
The bikers, mostly youths, hurled insults and abuses at the anti-Lynas protesters shortly after they converged at about 9.30pm.
According to Himpunan Hijau representative Clement Chin, about 30 police personnel were at the scene and stood in between the two groups, but did not take any action.
Although there was no altercations, one Sin Chew Daily journalist reported said that he was roughed up by some of the bikers.
He said that he had tried to photograph the group but his actions were met with yelling and threats of violence.
“One person bumped me with his belly,” he said. The bikers left after about 30 minutes.
Why the police escort?
Chin added that other than holding a short protest, the group’s other objective was to observe the trucks carry the rare earth ore for processing at the Lynas plant some 7km away. Many residents fear the resulting radioactive wastes from the factory.
He said one truck leaving the port was under police escort, leading the group to conclude that the truck was heading towards the Lynas rare earth refinery in Gebeng.
“The container trucks did not leave in a hurry, so we could snap some photographs. By why the police escort?” asked Chin.
Chin added that the group noticed that there was no form of indication that the trucks were carrying radioactive material.
According to Chin, this was in violation of the law.
“That is what we want to stress tonight. You will soon see what is our next step,” he said.
The vigil participants dispersed two hours later at about 11.30pm.