By Shannon Teoh
KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 27 — A Hindraf-led anti-ISA rally saw nearly 2,000 marching through the city centre tonight.
Police had denied entry into Dataran Merdeka where the group had planned to hold an hour-long candlelight vigil.
This resulted in the crowd, just about 500-strong then, deciding to move to Court Hill Sri Ganesar Temple off Jalan Pudu.
Eventually, what was planned to be an hour-long gathering in an already cordoned-off area turned into a moving roadblock that disrupted traffic for twice as long.
The orange-clad, flag-waving and candle holding protestors had made their way to the temple in three blocks via Jalan Tun Perak.
By the time they arrived, the total size had quadrupled to close to 2,000 with passersby and latecomers including a significant number of Chinese and Malay supporters joining up.
"This was a signal that the ISA is hated by all Malaysians from a cross-section of society," said legal advisor N. Surendran.
The event, which called for the abolishment of the Internal Security Act and the release of all detainees especially the Hindraf 5 and blogger Raja Petra Kamarudin, was hailed as a success by Hindraf national coordinator R.S. Tanendran, who said that the government should stop "closing its ears" to the people's wish to abolish the act.
"The people are a better judge of the Act. Who is Syed Hamid?" he told the crowd in front of the temple, referring to Home Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar.
"He is just an ordinary man. One man cannot be the judge."
According to Hindraf national event coordinator R. Kannan, several groups had assembled around the city centre and were headed towards Dataran Merdeka. They had requested police to allow them one hour to gather after a request for a permit sent on Wednesday did not receive a response.
However, even this request was denied as the main group began to move from Leboh Pasar Besar at 7.15pm, forcing them to take a detour via Masjid Jamek.
By 7.30pm, they had arrived together on Jalan Tun Perak where they were ordered to remain outside the cordoned off Dataran Merdeka with about 10 police light reserve personnel in attendance.
More negotiations with Kuala Lumpur police from the Dang Wangi headquarters ensued between Teluk Intan MP M. Manogaran and police representatives.
The DAP legislator requested for the group to be allowed in to light their candles and say their prayers for 15 minutes but were told that they would only be allowed to remain outside the cordoned off area until 8pm.
By 7.50pm the group began marching towards the temple and continued to gather numbers resulting in staggered blockage of traffic along Jalan Tun Perak and only arrived at the temple at 8.30pm before dispersing 45 minutes later.ASP Sydney Clyde Jeremiah confirmed that there were no untoward incidents in what was generally a "peaceful gathering" despite half a dozen light reserve and federal reserve vehicles each arriving at Dataran Merdeka after 8pm