The game is over, time for everybody to move on
The demonstrators had no access to any particular venue, so they gathered anyway en route. -The Star/ANN
EVERYBODY seems to have achieved what they wanted over yesterday's Bersih 2.0 rally in Kuala Lumpur.
The demonstrators had no access to any particular venue, so they gathered anyway en route.
And so they declared the rally a success.
The police had also imposed a 22-hour lockdown of the city.
They, too, declared the day a success.
The Federal Government had observed the minimal participation of the public and declared yesterday a success too.
There seems to be no rancour or bitter recriminations.
Since everybody appears to have got what they wanted, perhaps the country as a whole can now move on.
Although 1,667 protesters were detained, all were released last night.
Many who had taken to the streets may well have been committed to the cause of a clean election.
Then there are the political players who would relish any opportunity to make the nation's political incumbents look bad.
After much haranguing over the protest venue, the legitimacy of the protest and even the legal status of the Bersih group itself, the logistics of the protest came to eclipse its purpose.
The organisers' efforts in internationalising the protest by getting supporters abroad to hold simultaneous demonstrations worked, at least as an international news item.
News reports were filed and foreign commentators weighed in.
So, regardless of whether protest organisers succeeded in assembling exactly where they wanted, they got all the publicity they wished.
And yet the underlying question remains: was there no better way of putting across the message, cause or demand for a clean general election?
Whether or not a street demonstration should be the last resort for aggrieved parties, it should seldom, if ever, be the first.
The Yang di-Pertuan Agong had advised rally organisers against a street protest, and the Prime Minister had approved in principle a stadium rally.
But had the organisers tried to hold a top-level dialogue with Government leaders to press their case?
If every complaint made one or the other party take to the streets, bringing a city to a standstill, people would not be getting much work done.
Demonstrators would also not be making many friends, let alone winning supporters.
There should be a better way, but we can know only if we try.
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