Sunday, February 26, 2012

Good turnout for anti-Lynas rallies | Free Malaysia Today

Good turnout for anti-Lynas rallies

Stephanie Sta Maria | February 26, 2012-FMT

The protesters, mainly youth, were armed with handmade signs and glossy posters printed with anti-Lynas slogans.


Protesters at Maju Junction, KL

KUALA LUMPUR: Lynas Corporation Ltd’s rare earth plant may be in Gebeng but Kuala Lumpur residents are standing in solidarity with their Kuantan counterparts in calling for Lynas to be kicked out of Malaysia.

Maju Junction was awash in various shades of green this morning as about at least 500 people gathered for the nationwide Himpunan Hijau 2.0 rally. The number of protesters grew as time went by.

The protesters, mainly youth, were armed with handmade signs and glossy posters printed with anti-Lynas slogans.

Anti-Lynas protesters at KL

A few brought along their children who carried posters and flashed shy smiles.

Police presence was light with most of the personnel observing the rally from a distance. One of them tentatively asked what the ruckus was about and frowned in puzzlement when told it was an anti-Lynas protest.

The morning began with a mime depicting the repercussions of the Lynas Advanced Materials Plant (LAMP), followed by a sing-a-long of popular songs like “What A Wonderful World” and “Green Green Grass of Home”.

The crowd later split into two groups with the first sitting on the ground listening to various speeches and the second lining up along Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman to wave posters at honking cars.

Kamikaze route

anti Lynas posters at KL rally

anti Lynas posters at KL rally

Haris Ibrahim of Asalkan Bukan Umno (ABU), one of the rally organisers, said he was chuffed at the turnout.

“I’m totally bowled over at the size of the crowd and the fact that so many youths are here,” he beamed. “It’s so bizarre because the rakyat was opposed to this (Lynas plant) from the word “go” and yet the government pushed ahead.”

“Why are they taking this kamikaze route especially on an election year?”

The protesters at Kl started thinning down by about 12.30pm.

Simultaneously rallies are being held in Perak, Penang, Sabah and Sarawak with the biggest in Kuantan.

Huge crowd in Kuantan

Protesters in Kuantan

About 15,000 people gathered in Kuantan since 9.30am to oppose Lynas. The crowd was joined by PKR leaders, including Anwar Ibrahim, and Bersih 2.0 chairman S Ambiga.

According to a dpa report, the Kuantan protesters beat drums, danced and chant slogans denouncing the Lynas plant.

The protesters said waste from the plant could expose residents to harmful levels of radiation and cause severe environmental damage.

The protesters dispersed peacefully at about 1pm.

huge crowd at Kuantan anti Lynas rally

huge crowd at Kuantan anti Lynas rally

Lynas meanwhile said that it had complied with all safety regulations.

“At the LAMP, we comply with the highest international and Malaysian regulations and standards, making sure that we meet and exceed rigorous health, safety and environment regulations,” the
company said in paid newspaper advertisements Sunday.

“Another Lynas value is to operate in a safe, honest and transparent manner,” it added.

anti lynas protesters along Jalan TAR in KL

The Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation said Lynas would have to meet five conditions before it can operate the plant.

“The health and safety of workers, the public and the environment has the government’s highest priority,” it said in local newspaper advertisements.

“Strict laws and regulations have been enacted to ensure that the interest of the people will be safeguarded.”

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