PHOTO STORY: Local environmentalists protest at Australia Day commemoration in Malaysia

Friday, January 24, 2014
Anti-Lynas protest hits 'Australia Day' event in Kuala Lumpur on January 22. Photo by Keow Wee Loong.

Wong Tack, the chairperson of the Himpunan Hijau (Green Assembly) environmental group which has been campaigning against the Australian company Lynas' toxic rare earth refinery in Malaysia, was manhandled and pushed up against a wall by security personnel when his group peacefully protested at the "Australia Day" celebration held in Kuala Lumpur on January 22.

READ MORE: 'A million Malaysians say shut polluter Lynas'

The invitation-only event was hosted by the Australian High Commission and was attended by Lynas executives.

Wong Tack demanded that the Australian government make a stand on the matter within seven days.

“Lynas, we will shut you down on June 22. We are giving you six months. One-point-two million Malaysians have already signed a petition supporting us,” he declared outside the Kuala Lumpur City Centre (KLCC) venue of the event.

Himpunan Hijau is organising a mass rally to converge on the Lynas plant in Gebeng, Kuantan on June 22.

Wong Tack and five other Himpunan Hijau activists set up a protest camp for three days outside the corporate headquarters of Lynas in Sydney last November. They had collected 1.2 million signatures by Malaysians demanding that the refnery be shut down because of their concerns about the plant's radioactive toxic waste and poor environmental standards.

The photos below were taken by Malaysian photographer Keow Wee Loong and are published with his permission.




Wong Tack leads a group of protesters to the Australia Day event staged by the Australian High Commission in Kuala Lumpur on January 22. Photo by Keow Wee Loong.



Local environmental protesters were violently manhandled when they tried to enter an Australia Day event staged by the Australian High Commission in Kuala Lumpur on January 22. Photo by Keow Wee Loong.



Local environmental protesters were violently manhandled when they tried to enter an Australia Day event staged by the Australian High Commission in Kuala Lumpur on January 22. Photo by Keow Wee Loong.



Local environmental protesters were violently manhandled when they tried to enter an Australia Day event staged by the Australian High Commission in Kuala Lumpur on January 22. Photo by Keow Wee Loong.



Wong Tack addresses the media after being forcibly excluded from the Australia Day event staged by the Australian High Commission in Kuala Lumpur on January 22. Photo by Keow Wee Loong.

From GLW issue 994