Published: Friday August 31, 2012 MYT 12:24:00 AM
Updated: Friday August 31, 2012 MYT 1:05:12 AM
Fireworks herald Merdeka Day
KUALA LUMPUR: Crowds at Dataran Merdeka, in front of City Hall, in KLCC park and other parts of the city joined in the countdown to the country's 55th Merdeka Day and, at the stroke of midnight, as a mini fireworks went off, they cheered with jubilation.
Some sounded horns, some threw confetti and some sang the national anthem Negaraku.
National laureate and Bersih Co-chairman Datuk A. Samad Said recited a poem titled Janji Demokrasi which he had composed.
Many Mat Rempit contributed to the occassion by revving their engines and choking Jalan Parlimen with exhaust fumes.
By 1am Friday, most people had left Dataran Merdeka.
Police had earlier Thursday advised the public to avoid a rally by a group called Janji Demokrasi at Dataran Merdeka, saying the rally was illegal as it had not obtained a permit from police or City Hall.
Clusters of police and City Hall personnel were present at Dataran Merdeka.
Meanwhile, the Merdeka March For Jalan Sultan organised by the Jalan Sultan community and Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall (KLSCHA), set off on their walk from the Gospel Hall, Jalan Hang Jebat through Jalan Sultan, before reaching Dataran Merdeka after 10pm on Thursday.
Those groups are concerned about the preservation of heritage buildings jeorpadised by the MRT project.
Police stood by to prevent untoward incidents and to handle traffic to avoid congestion.
The crowd started swelling after 11pm ahead of the countdown to Merdeka Day.
Several people wearing yellow shirts or wearing yellow scarves were spotted among the crowd.
Mohamad Sabu, PAS Deputy President, was also spotted.
Meanwhile, political activist Hishamuddin Rais and others urged the crowd in front of City Hall, many chanting Janji Demokrasi, to be silent and to sit down ahead of midnight.