Aliran president P Ramakrishnan addressing the crowd at the vigil
Music and song lifted the spirits of those present
Regular participant Jennifer with her brother-in-law Dato’ Kam U Tee
Heavy rain last night failed to deter some 150 people from turning up for the Friday candlelight vigil in front of the Dewan Sri Pinang. The downpour, which thankfully cleared up by about 9.10pm, did not dampen the spirits of Penangites who once again turned up to call for the release of all ISA detainees.
Among the speakers were Aliran president P Ramakrishnan and Bukit Mertajam MP Chong Eng, who will be holding a similar vigil tonight at her service centre on the mainland.
The spirited youngsters representing the Abolish ISA Movement (GMI) led the crowd in chanting “Mansuh, Mansuh!“, to which the crowd responded, “Mansuh ISA!“. They also proclaimed “People Power!” in four languages. When it came to Tamil, they yelled “Makkal Sakthi!” and the conspicuous band of Makkal Sakthi supporters clad in orange T-shirts roared back “Makkal Sakthi!” in approval.
A few participants came up front to read a poem, croon an inspirational song and explain why they wanted the ISA abolished.
Plainclothes police were more conspicuous this week as they walked around busily filming the crowd and snapping pictures. I suppose the idea is to deter people from coming to such events, but to the credit of the participants, no one flinched. In the past, such snapping of pictures had more of a ‘Big Brother’ effect. But these days, with almost every other person holding up a camera, such scare tactics appear to have lost some of their impact.