More than 500 Malaysians and their supporters gathered in Melbourne's Federation Square on July 9 to call for free and fair elections in Malaysia. They were decked out in yellow shirts and held banners and placards.
The rally, called in solidarity with the Bersih 2.0 democracy movement in Malaysia, chanted slogans in Malay and English, ranging from "Bersih bersih" (Clean, clean) to "change is possible".
In Malaysia, Socialist Party of Malaysia (PSM) chairperson S. Arutchelvan reported that "thousands upon thousands of people" defied police repression to march in Kuala Lumpa. He said hundreds were arrested and police used water cannons and tear gas on the protesters.
The Melbourne rally heard from Hong Lim, the state MP for Clayton, Manrico Moro, a representative from Victorian Trades Hall Council, Nazryn Azhur, from the Singaporean National Solidarity Party, Sean Seymour-Jones from the Socialist Alliance, as well as the rally organisers David Teoh and Lutfi Hakim from Saya Anak Bangas Malaysia.
In Brisbane Jim McIlroy reports about 100 members of the Malaysian community and their supporters chanted "What do we want? Clean elections! When do we want it? Now!" on July 9, at a rally held as part of an international day of solidarity with the Berish movement.
The rally, held in Brisbane Square, heard speakers explain the deep problems of corruption and repression in their home country.
Speakers condemned attempts by the Malaysian government to foment racial divisions in order maintain their power. They called for national unity, and solidarity with the Malaysian people mobilising at Kuala Lumpur and elsewhere to demand genuine free elections and free speech in their country.
In Sydney, about 300 people rallied. About 200 rallied in Perth, 40 in Canberra and 150 in Adelaide.
Visit www.bersih.org for more information on the campaign.
Pics of Sydney rally by Peter Boyle: