What can we expect from Day 2 of the Bersih 4 rally?

Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad's presence at the Bersih 4 rally near Dataran Merdeka on Saturday has been deemed as a game-changer.

International watchdog, Human Rights Watch has expressed hope that the peaceful atmosphere portrayed during Day One of the Bersih 4 rally will be continued throughout the second day. - Astro AWANI/Shahir Omar | Astro Awani
WHAT can we expect from the second day of the Bersih 4 rally?

On the first day, many were skeptical on how the event would turn out. Although the organisers, the Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (Bersih 2.0) had promised that the rally would be a peaceful assembly, many were apprehensive that it would end up being another riot.

It is noted that the first day of Bersih 4 took off pretty smoothly yesterday, somewhat uneventful, compared to the event's track record in 2007, 2011 and 2012.

It was observed that participants gathered at their designated assembly points in a timely manner, they marched, they chanted, they held up banners (although not all had abided by the rules), traffic in the city was reportedly smooth and security forces had the crowd under control at all times with no arrests made.

However, it is also noted that despite Bersih 2.0 claiming that the rally was not political in nature, many Opposition politicians were seen addressing the crowd, including DAP stalwart Lim Kit Siang and his son Lim Guan Eng, PKR’s Datuk Seri Wan Azizah Wan Ismail and Rafizi Ramli, and Gerakan Harapan Baru's Mohamad Sabu and Dr Mohd Hatta Ramli.

But later in the evening, one politician stole the limelight.

The attendance of Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and his wife, Tun Dr Siti Hasmah Mohamad Ali at the rally near Dataran Merdeka caught many by surprise. Although the couple did not hang around long, their presence alone has been deemed as a game-changer.

From day one, UMNO had been very vocal about not allowing its members to join the rally. At the same time, Dr Mahathir had also been very vocal about UMNO.

If people before this had been apprehensive about turning up for the rally, would they be having second
thoughts now?

The programmes slated for day two of the Bersih 4 rally will include exercises at various spots in the morning, interfaith prayers, song and dance, and speeches by Bersih 2.0 steering committee members throughout the day.

At nighttime, participants will be singing the 'Negaraku' to welcome Merdeka Day. And the National Day celebrations will take off from there.

On the crowd turnout today, it is hard to tell if the number of participants would swell or reduce, or to pinpoint the reasons why. From here on, let’s leave it to time to do the talking.

Check out Astro AWANI's live updates from the grounds of Kuala Lumpur, Kota Kinabalu and Kuching.