Much has been written about the yellow shirts of Bersih 3.0 on 28 April, but there was also a noticeable number of green-shirted protesters. Who were they?
The green shirts started gathering at KLCC from as early as 9.00am. At the KLCC, there were two groups milling around: a small group of about 100 from Bukit Koman, Raub protesting against the use of cynaide in gold mining operations there. They displayed pictures of people suffering from rashes, asthma and other ailments in their home town.
The other group of over a thousand people were the anti-Lynas protesters from Kuantan. “Lynas must go home!” they cried.
“We want Lynas out of Malaysia! We want Bukit Koman issues to be resolved immediately,” said a speaker, to loud applause from the crowd. “We don’t want any environmentally hazardous projects in Malaysia.”
Both these groups milled around KLCC including at the small park at the KLCC premises.
By 10.30am, they were joined by a large crowd of Himpunan Hijau supporters. One activist at the scene estimated the turnout at 20000.
The initial plan was to move towards along the now almost deserted roads to the Australian High Commission. But the crowd led by a front-line of maroon-shirted Pas Unit Amal lads found their path to the High Commission blocked by a heavy police presence along Jalan Yap Kwan Seng.
Suddenly, the Pas Unil Amal guys swung around to the left and raced down towards a lighter police cordon along Jalan P Ramlee. Followed by the crowd, they broke through the police cordon, which eventually just gave way, as the endless stream of people surged forward.
Many among the multi-ethnic crowd were young people, suggesting the blossoming of a green consciousness, which was first visible during the 15000-strong anti-Lynas rally in Kuantan on 26 February. The same green-shirted presence was noticeable in the Bersih solidarity gathering in Penang.
Malaysians, especially economic planners, should take note of this emerging consciousness in favour of sustainable development.
Make no mistake: we are witnessing the flowering of an environmental movement for sustainable development in Malaysia. This green movement is not about to go away, and instead, can only grow from strength to strength.
If you were part of Himpunan Hijau @ Bersih 3.0, please share with us your experience there, what motivated you to be there and your hopes and expectations.