A group of about 50 unruly pro-Umno thugs tried to disrupt the anti-Lynas solidarity gathering at Speakers’ Square in Penang this evening.
The gathering began at 6.00pm but according to tweets the provocation by the thugs began at 6.20pm.
The mob reportedly hurled abuse at CM Lim Guan Eng when he addressed the gathering at around 6.30pm.
According to one eye-witness, the anti-Lynas group number at least 300 (Malaysiakini put the figure at 500) and the hecklers less than 20 (Malaysiakini, 50). “Earlier, 100 motorbikes paraded at Speakers Square with Umno flags.”
The hecklers were five metres away from the Guan Eng, said the Chief Minister’s special assistant Jeffrey Chew. “The CM was prevented from leaving. Fights broke out. Media people were beaten up by unruly thugs. Some went to the crowd to threaten them.”
But the crowd displayed courage. “What seems to be a simple event became a political showdown,” said Chew, who was part of the human shield around the CM.
“(The) thugs were shouting profanity and stupid remarks about 1Malaysia and asking the CM to go home,” he recalled, adding that they also hurled abuse at the crowd.
Malaysiakini, for its part, reported that two journalists were struck with crash helmets.
Uniformed police reportedly moved in at 7.15pm and ordered the gathering to disperse. An activist ended the event by leading the crowd with Negara Ku.
Over in Bukit Merah, some 2000 gathered for a solidarity gathering this morning, reports Dr T Jayabalan.