Thousands of people flocked to a political rally in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia, on Wednesday evening, May 16, to hear the first public speech of Malaysian politician Anwar Ibrahim since his release from jail hours earlier.
“From the prison to the palace,” Anwar told the 5,000-strong crowd, referring to his audience with the Malaysian king who pardon him.
The mood was jubilant. The crowd blew vuvuzela horns, banged the drums, waved the blue-white-red flags of Anwar’s Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) and chanted “Reformasi” — a battle cry of the pro-democracy leader who first went to jail 20 years ago.
Heavy rains made Padang Timur, venue of the political rally, muddy and soggy, but it didn’t deter supporters from gathering at the square from late afternoon, hours before Anwar’s scheduled appearance.
Anwar’s release from his second prison stint – for a sodomy conviction that he says was trumped up by ousted Prime Minister Najib Razak – came one week after his opposition coalition Pakatan Harapan won the elections, ending Barisan Nasional’s six-decade grip on power. Anwar had served two years of his five year sentence.
Also on the evening of May 16, police descended on Najib’s residence to conduct a search, which still continued in the next morning. Credit: @Sashi1403 via Storyful