1600: The crowd has dispersed as the protest ends peacefully. Meanwhile, Umno Youth’s Tun Faisal reports via Twitter that some 5,000 people turned up for a Juara Rakyat event in Sembrong, Johor.
1537: The police have prohibited the crowd from gathering outside the school-gate; so the protesters have moved across the road but they are still facing the school. Riot police have positioned themselves in front of the gate.
Photo courtesy of darisungaiderhaka.blogspot.com
1503: A small truck carrying about a dozen riot police personnel arrives.
1502: The police had given the crowd until 3.00pm to disperse. A Pas member is now negotiating with them. He says the protesters just want to know why Umno is using a school.
1447: Dozens of people are now protesting against an Umno event held in a government school near Permatang Pauh, according to an eye-witness at the scene. More people are arriving.
The event, part of a nationwide ‘Umno Juara Rakyat’ programme, was due to begin at 2.00pm at Sekolah Rendah Kebangsaan Bukit Indera Muda, which lies within the stronghold of opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim.
Outside, the protesters are carrying placards reading “Umno juara tipu rakyat” and “Umno jangan guna sekolah“. An uztaz has addressed the protesters in front of the school gate.
About half a dozen plainclothes police officers are at the scene as well.
In an earlier protest on Friday, about 50 villagers gathered peacefully outside the school.
Last month, in another event in the area, Umno awarded RM40 vouchers to pupils who had excelled in the UPSR examination – though one parent complained they had to wait in line for nearly two hours.
The Umno Juara Rakyat programme was initiated by Najib and is being hosted nationwide by 191 Umno divisions and BN component parties. The programme aims at “providing aid for everybody and not just Umno or BN supporters”.
Umno information chief Ahmad Maslan had earlier dismissed claims that the programme was making use of government agencies to win support from the people.
Umno is reportedly using a four-pronged approach – face-to-face sessions, print, electronic and virtual media – to inform the people of federal government projects. Umno divisions have been urged to organise seminars and talks at least once a month, perhaps in conjuction with the Juara Rakyat programme in their respective areas.