DAP's anti-ISA (Internal Security Act) flag began its 350km journey on foot to the Kamunting Detention Camp in Pandamaran, Selangor today with several party personalities kicking things off.
Party vice-chairperson and former ISA detainee Tan Kok Wai flagged off the low-key event at the Pandamaran new village at 8.15am with a short speech.
He said the walk was meant to express the public's disappointment with the continued use of unjust and repressive laws such as the ISA.
"We call upon the government to immediately and unconditionally release all detainees held under the ISA," he told a crowd of about 50 party supporters.
Tan said the purpose of the run, dubbed the 'freedom run', was also to call for a lift of the ban on the Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf), adding that it symbolises equality, freedom, and a call to all Malaysians to unite in order to "move forward".
The DAP event was given a boost with the presence of popular blogger Raja Petra Kamaruddin and his wife Marina Lee Abdullah. Raja Petra has been detained twice under the ISA.
The wife on Hindraf legal advisor V Ganabatirau, V Buvaneswary, was also present during the flag off. Ganabatirau and four other Hindraf leaders have been in detention in Kamunting since Dec 13 last year.
'Run will be bear fruit'
Other personalities at the event included DAP advisor Dr Chen Man Hin and Selangor state executive councilor Ronnie Liu, who was the first runner at the event.
"It was an honour to be the first," said Liu, who headed towards Bukit Tinggi, where the flag was passed to an awaiting runner at the service centre of Klang MP Charles Santiago.
Liu told Malaysiakini that he had high hopes that the objective of the run would be accomplished as similar runs in the past had been successful.
This includes DAP's campaign to save Bukit Cina, Malacca from development and SRJK(C) Damansara primary school from permanent closure.
"We have organised this kind of run in the past and every time, it had been fruitful. You can expect this run to bear fruit in the future as well," Liu said confidently.
Also lending their support were Pakatan Rakyat coalition partners PAS and PKR. Elected representatives from these two parties will be joining in the run when the flag passes through their constituencies.
Two Pakatan MP's who have confirmed their participation are S Manikavasagam (PKR-Kapar) and Dzulkefly Ahmad (PAS-Kuala Selangor).
End in Kamunting
If all goes to plan, the anti-ISA flag would pass through hundred of hands in the coastal towns of Kapar, Kuala Selangor and Sekinchan today, before ending up in Sabak Bernam, which borders Perak, by this evening.
After breaking for the night, the second leg of the run will begin at the border between Selangor and Perak before runners take the flag to Kamunting.
The flag would be passing through Teluk Intan, Setiawan, Pantai Remis, Simpang and Taiping before finally reaching Kamunting.
About a dozen plain-clothed police officers kept a close watch at the proceedings at the Pandamaran new village this morning while riot police were on standby in a nearby police station.