Monday, January 14, 2013

PoliTweet estimates KL rally crowd at 150,000

PoliTweet estimates KL rally crowd at 150,000

January 13, 2013
Malaysian Insider
 
PoliTweet estimates the crowd attending yesterday’s opposition-backed Himpunan Kebangkitan Rakyat rally at Stadium Merdeka could have hit the 150,000 mark. - file pic
KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 13 — The crowd attending yesterday’s opposition-backed Himpunan Kebangkitan Rakyat rally at Stadium Merdeka could have hit the 150,000 mark, independent online research house PoliTweet.org said today in its preliminary study of the event.  PoliTweet.org, which tracks social media use in Malaysian politics, wrote on its Facebook page here that the estimate was based on photographs of the rally in the media and shared by netizens online.
It said that according to visual proof from the photos, the crowd had covered an area of nearly 40,000 square meters inside the stadium (excluding the bleachers) and in the surrounding areas outside the venue.
“Crowd density varies, but if you take an average of 3.5-4 sq ft per person, the total is 106,037 — 121,185 people outside the stadium.
“Including the 30K reported capacity of the stadium, the estimated size of the crowd is: 136,037 — 151,185 people,” the research house wrote in its posting, which included an aerial photograph of Stadium Merdeka.
“Each area will be evaluated separately to determine a more accurate crowd density. Please expect this figure to be revised later this week,” PoliTweet.org added.
Police had yesterday placed the rally crowd size at a 45,000 at its peak, revising down its figures from the 80,000 that it had earlier claimed on Twitter by mistake.
But organisers and Pakatan Rakyat (PR) leaders believe that at least 500,000 attended the mammoth event, said to be the largest that the city has seen in years.
PR and Barisan Nasional (BN) government leaders have always disagreed on the size of crowds attending rallies they organise, oftentimes accusing one another of massaging the crowd numbers to appear more successful than the other.
In May last year, Minister of Information, Communications and Culture Datuk Seri Rais Yatim estimated that 22,270 people turned up for the Bersih 3.0 rally, derived from aerial photo shots by Bernama.
“The idea of glamourising it to be in the hundreds of thousands is not only mischievous but also a big misrepresentation to Malaysians and to the rest of the world,” said Rais at that time. Organisers however estimated 250,000 participants for the Bersih 3.0 rally, while Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim put the figure at 300,000.
In July 2011, the police force estimated that between 5,000 to 6,000 participants attended the Bersih 2.0 rally, but most media reported close to 20,000 participants. Bersih event organisers estimated that around 50,000 people showed up for that rally.
The Himpunan Kebangkitan Rakyat mammoth rally at Stadium Merdeka yesterday was organised by both political leaders from PR and non-partisan members of various civil society groups as a final showcase of election issues before the 13th general election is called by June.

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