About 1,000 protesters have managed to weave past police roadblocks to converge at the entrance of the Gebeng Industrial Zone to protest against the Lynas rare earth refinery.

occupy balok gebeng rally 240612 2At least three roadblocks have been erected since early this morning around the industrial park, in anticipation of the protesters who have been gathering at the nearby Balok beach since last night.

Led by PAS deputy president Mohamad Sabu and PAS environment bureau chief Zulkefly Mohd Omar, the group were initially asked to turn back by police personnel manning a roadblock.

Although part of the group managed to slip pass the cordon, the group eventually decided to sit in at the entrace of the Gebeng Industrial Zone.

Several speakers later spoke from a makeshift stage from the back of a lorry.
Among those on the stage included Himpunan Hijau chairperson Wong Tack, Bersih co-chairman A Samad Said, Mohamad Sabu, Pahang PAS commissioner Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man and Triang assemblyperson Leong Ngah Ngah.

After a relay of speeches, the protestors stood up and began to march towards the police roadblock at about 11.30am.

Around 30 police personnel and a fire truck were spotted at the scene.

Baby steps to Lynas

However, the energetic crowd led by Wong, Mohamad Sabu and others only just managed to take a dozen or so steps before Kuantan OCPD Mohd Jasmani Yusof stopped them in front of the roadblocks.

NONEAfter a round of negotiations, the organisers agreed to the authorities’ request to disperse.

"We should now hold the last prayer to conclude the event and disperse peacefully.

"We need to show respect for the laws, as what we want to punish is the BN government," Tuan Ibrahim told the crowd.

Wong then succeeded the brief prayer session by three loud chants of, "We will come back," to the loud blare of vuvuzela trumpets.

When met by reporters later, Wong said they only managed to take 12 steps forward, but said it was significant progress in the anti-Lynas struggle.

occupy balok gebeng rally 240612 1"Next time we will take 20 steps and eventually we will reach Lynas (plant) one day," he said.

Meanwhile, Jasmani told reporters that the rally has violated the Peaceful Assembly Act as it was done without permit.

He said the organiser should have applied for a permit 10 days before the rally.

He also confirmed that a light-strike force unit was being deployed at the front entrance of the Lynas plant today.

Asked whether he thinks the police will take legal action against the organisers, Wong said vaguely, "It is still too early to say, but it will be done in accordance to the laws," he said.