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The Prime Minister or Turkey and the Prime Minister of Malaysia are facing public protests in their respective countries. The Turkey protest started quite innocently by people who were against the  the demolition of a public park to build a shopping mall.

They gathered in Taksim Square in Istanbul and were met with quite an aggressive police response. Events seemed to have developed from there where people became incensed at the idea of their peaceful public protest being quelled. And as what happened in the Arab world in 2011-2012, the social media successfully attracted more supporters to come out and express themselves.

In any human population, there are generally three groups of people; those who are satisfied, dissatisfied and indifferent. People ,all this while, who felt dissatisfied would use any opportunity to express themselves in a free country in the name of freedom of expression.

Instead of appeasing the demonstrators, Erdogan the  long-serving Turkish Prime Minister has chosen to confront them and hold rallies of his own. This behaviour is reminiscent of what Mubarak of Egypt did and the world has witnessed how that Tahrir Square demonstration evolved. Erdogan has inadvertently increased the polarisation in his country. He could have remained neutral by letting those angry people express themselves and have their day in exercising their freedom.

Turkish protest - Calling for Erdogan to step down (Photo:BBC)

Turkey protests – Calling for Erdogan to step down (Photo:BBC)










The protest has since  taken on a new twist, that is calling  for the resignation of Erdogan as they feel he has become authoritarian and patriarchal (read here). Most of these urban protesters are secularists and are not that comfortable with changes made by the party represented by the Prime Minister leaning towards conservative Islamic ideology.

Remember the Occupy Wall Street that bred similar protests everywhere in the western world in 2012? Had the police handled them in a brutal manner, the protests would have been bigger and more destructive but  instead it died a natural death simply because they were not that organised and with no recognisable leaders.

In Malaysia we have Anwar Ibrahim-led statewide protests referred to as Black 505, against the election results which they claim to be  fraudulent. Polarisation is occurring in Malaysia but it needs not be explosive unless the police decide to opt for a  brutal suppression.

So PM Najib please learn from what is happening in Turkey and allow Malaysian protesters their freedom to express themselves as long as they are confined to a venue. Let them shout themselves hoarse, blow those vuvuzelas silly and have a damn good time. All the police needs to do is to keep a respectful presence.

Moreover Anwar and his cronies will not dare to inflame the crowd to become destructive because the court of public opinion will eventually bristle against him. He cannot afford that if he still has sight on  that Prime Minister’s post at least for his daughter in five to ten years’ time.


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