2013: Year of rallies that rocked ASEAN

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Little India_riotThe year 2013 saw a number of partly violent rallies in Southeast Asia that rocked several nations, with one more major rally expected in Malaysia on New Year’s Eve. Below a compilation:

1. Anti-government protest in Thailand. A large number of rallies were organised by the Thai opposition to oust Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra who is accused of being a proxy of her exiled elder brother Thaksin. Rallies have intensified in the past few weeks and protesters were able to occupy several government buildings, and the venue of registrations for the planned snap elections on February 2 was heavily embattled. The opposition said they will boycott the polls and instead want to set up a People’s Council. The political crisis is expected to deepen in the new year. As of December 29, eight people have been killed and more than 300 injured over the past two months.

2. ‘Million People March’ against corruption in the Philippines. Filipinos were outraged after a whistleblower exposed how legislators have been systematically stealing from their pork barrel allocations, funds that are granted by the government for localised projects primarily to bring money to a representative’s district. Netizens called for a massive gathering in Luneta, the biggest park in the country’s capital Manila to push for the abolition of the pork barrel system. Days before the August 26 rally, the president and congress vowed to abolish pork but it didn’t stop citizens from joining the event. It turned out to be the biggest rally during the administration of President Benigno Aquino III.

3. Cambodia’s post-election protest and garment workers’ marches. Tens of thousands participated in several assemblies, marches, and camp-ins organised by the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party since September to protest the alleged manipulation of electoral results by the ruling Cambodian People’s Party. The ruling party, which has been in power over the past three decades, won by slim majority after it took 68 seats compared to the opposition’s 55 seats. It was the ruling party’s worst electoral performance since 1998. Over the past few days, garment workers on strike for higher wages joined the protests which saw a number of violent clashes with police.

4. Malaysia post-election protest. On May 8, 2013, hundreds of thousands gathered in Kuala Lumpur to protest the outcome of the election which gave the administration coalition a slim majority. The May 5 general election was tainted by allegations that the ruling coalition committed massive electoral fraud to remain in power. The ruling party, which has been in power since the 1950s, lost in the popular voting but it still retained majority of the parliament seats. The series of protests, which spread to other provinces, was also referred to as the ‘Malay Tsunami’.

5. Rallies in Singapore’s Hong Lim Park and clashes in Little India. Thousands gathered in Singapore’s Hong Lim Freedom Park on May 1, 2013 to protest the government’s White Paper on population. The May Day protest was the second time that a big crowd gathered in the park to speak out against the population programme which many Singaporeans criticised since it would mean the hiring of more foreign workers. Then on June 8, 2013, an assembly organised by the ‘Free My Internet’ movement became the ‘largest blogger-led protest’ in Singapore which aimed to oppose the government’s new licensing scheme for news websites. Another incident occurred in Singapore’s Little India on December 8 after a fatal accident, causing an angry mob of passers-by to attack the bus involved and emergency vehicles that had by then arrived at the location. About 300 Indian nationals were involved in the violent riot which lasted for around two hours.

6. Indonesia general strike for pay hike. Workers in Indonesia launched a two-day general strike from October 31 to November 1 aimed at pressuring the government to raise the minimum wage. Tens of thousands joined factory shutdowns, union visits and rallies across the country although the turnout was smaller compared to 2012’s general strike.

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Reading Time: 3 minutes

The year 2013 saw a number of partly violent rallies in Southeast Asia that rocked several nations, with one more major rally expected in Malaysia on New Year’s Eve. Below a compilation:

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Little India_riotThe year 2013 saw a number of partly violent rallies in Southeast Asia that rocked several nations, with one more major rally expected in Malaysia on New Year’s Eve. Below a compilation:

1. Anti-government protest in Thailand. A large number of rallies were organised by the Thai opposition to oust Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra who is accused of being a proxy of her exiled elder brother Thaksin. Rallies have intensified in the past few weeks and protesters were able to occupy several government buildings, and the venue of registrations for the planned snap elections on February 2 was heavily embattled. The opposition said they will boycott the polls and instead want to set up a People’s Council. The political crisis is expected to deepen in the new year. As of December 29, eight people have been killed and more than 300 injured over the past two months.

2. ‘Million People March’ against corruption in the Philippines. Filipinos were outraged after a whistleblower exposed how legislators have been systematically stealing from their pork barrel allocations, funds that are granted by the government for localised projects primarily to bring money to a representative’s district. Netizens called for a massive gathering in Luneta, the biggest park in the country’s capital Manila to push for the abolition of the pork barrel system. Days before the August 26 rally, the president and congress vowed to abolish pork but it didn’t stop citizens from joining the event. It turned out to be the biggest rally during the administration of President Benigno Aquino III.

3. Cambodia’s post-election protest and garment workers’ marches. Tens of thousands participated in several assemblies, marches, and camp-ins organised by the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party since September to protest the alleged manipulation of electoral results by the ruling Cambodian People’s Party. The ruling party, which has been in power over the past three decades, won by slim majority after it took 68 seats compared to the opposition’s 55 seats. It was the ruling party’s worst electoral performance since 1998. Over the past few days, garment workers on strike for higher wages joined the protests which saw a number of violent clashes with police.

4. Malaysia post-election protest. On May 8, 2013, hundreds of thousands gathered in Kuala Lumpur to protest the outcome of the election which gave the administration coalition a slim majority. The May 5 general election was tainted by allegations that the ruling coalition committed massive electoral fraud to remain in power. The ruling party, which has been in power since the 1950s, lost in the popular voting but it still retained majority of the parliament seats. The series of protests, which spread to other provinces, was also referred to as the ‘Malay Tsunami’.

5. Rallies in Singapore’s Hong Lim Park and clashes in Little India. Thousands gathered in Singapore’s Hong Lim Freedom Park on May 1, 2013 to protest the government’s White Paper on population. The May Day protest was the second time that a big crowd gathered in the park to speak out against the population programme which many Singaporeans criticised since it would mean the hiring of more foreign workers. Then on June 8, 2013, an assembly organised by the ‘Free My Internet’ movement became the ‘largest blogger-led protest’ in Singapore which aimed to oppose the government’s new licensing scheme for news websites. Another incident occurred in Singapore’s Little India on December 8 after a fatal accident, causing an angry mob of passers-by to attack the bus involved and emergency vehicles that had by then arrived at the location. About 300 Indian nationals were involved in the violent riot which lasted for around two hours.

6. Indonesia general strike for pay hike. Workers in Indonesia launched a two-day general strike from October 31 to November 1 aimed at pressuring the government to raise the minimum wage. Tens of thousands joined factory shutdowns, union visits and rallies across the country although the turnout was smaller compared to 2012’s general strike.

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