Just before midnight on 30 August 2015, those who attended Bersih 4 in Kuala Lumpur would most likely been feeling hopeful. Standing in such a huge crowd, singing Negaraku after a peaceful 34 hour rally, it would have been hard not to feel optimistic. But, like it or not, the rally is now over – and Malaysians are facing the aftermath. Here’s our cheat sheet to the best, worst and weirdest things that have happened since.
It wouldn’t be a Malaysian crisis without a meme. Belveen Singh, a Malaysian guy with a sense of humour, was one of the first on the ball after Bersih. We can’t help giggling at his series of “Emo Protester” memes – we just hope that Belveen knows the poor guy in the picture and warned him that his face was about to go viral.
By ironic coincidence, Kuala Lumpur happens to be the host for this year’s International Anti-Corruption Conference this week. This means there is a greater spotlight on the protests and 1MDB. Datuk Paul Low, minister in charge of governance and integrity, represented Malaysia after apparently advising the Prime Minister that it might be a “hostile” environment.
A community organisation called Endless Smile posted up a video that used a lot of drone footage from Bersih to show the scale of the protests. Overlaid with the sound of the crowds singing Negaraku, the video shows some pretty impressive footage and has over 400,000 views on Facebook already.
The Prime Minister labelled the protesters as “shallow and poor in their patriotism and love for the motherland”, claiming the protest was a ploy to discredit the country’s reputation. (By contrast, newly minted Deputy Home Minister Nur Jazlan tweeted his thanks to both the protesters and the police for a peaceful rally).
Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahlan has warned that DBKL will charge the Bersih organisers RM65,000 for “additional cleaning” following the street protests. The organisers are also being investigated by police over the rally.
123 people were detained by the police after a raid at the punk music venue Rumah Api. The raid is thought to have been related to Bersih, even though there was no direct affiliation between the concert and the rally. All the youths have been released without charges, but were kept in lockup for three nights – and an Indonesian tourist was only released on Wednesday afternoon.
Performance artist Bilqis Hijas dropped seven yellow balloons at Pavilion during an event attended by the Prime Minister and his wife. The balloons bore the words “justice”, “free media” and “democracy”. Bilqis has been charged under Section 504 of the Penal Code for intention to insult or provoke.
Police are taking former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s statement about his appearance at the rally. We don’t know what’s weirder: that Tun M appeared at the rally in the first place or that the police are going to call him in for it.
Read this next: Sketches From Bersih 4