Black flags flying high on social media

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A new hashtag, #benderahitam, is making waves on social media, trending since Saturday afternoon with demands for prime minister Muhyiddin Yassin to resign, as well as calls to reopen Parliament and end the Emergency.

PKR president Anwar Ibrahim tweeted the black flag emoji on Twitter to denote his support for the movement and his tweet was retweeted over 4,000 times.

MUDA co-founder Amir Abd Hadi, meanwhile, said the public should not be afraid of putting up black flags.

He also tweeted that black flags were spotted in several areas around the Klang Valley.

Twitter

Setiawangsa MP Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad posted a picture of him holding a black flag while Muar MP Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman posted a 15-second video without sound on a black background.

Former Bersih chairperson Ambiga Sreenevasan tweeted a photo of a black flag displayed on the gate of a house, believed to be hers.

“And it’s up! Together we #lawan,” she said.

Former education minister Maszlee Malik tweeted: “The people have spoken!”, followed by an emoji of three black flags.

Lawyer Samantha Chong tweeted a picture of her barrister’s robe, saying that “for lawyers, wearing black robe symbolises upholders of rights and justice”.

Fellow lawyer Syahredzan Johan said “the rakyat stands with all of you (frontliners)” in flying the flags, after a Twitter user pointed out that some civil servants were afraid to do so and feared being penalised.

Activist Michelle Yesudas pointed out the government seemed to have problems with colours for the past 10 years.

“2011: if you wore red you are communist, 2015: ban on yellow t-shirts, and 2021: white and black flags were criticised.

“The State has a shrinking colour palette as social movements grow, and the safest colour is blue,” she said on Twitter.

Earlier this week, the “#BenderaPutih” (white flag) movement was started, aiming to help those in desperate need of food and assistance in light of the worsening Covid-19 health and economic crisis.

Since then many individuals and organisations have collected basic necessities and distributed them to those in need.

Meanwhile, PKR vice-president Tian Chua said waving black flags showed that this is an early move by the people in fighting for change.

“People have been suffering for the last one year with one MCO after another.

“It is time for us to rise and fight. There is no way we can accept an MCO that has no direction,” he added.

Up to Saturday evening, over 34,000 tweets were tagged with the #bendarahitam hashtag.

The #BenderaHitam movement was started by Sekretariat Solidariti Rakyat (SSR) who urged Malaysians to fly black flags as a show of protest towards the Perikatan National (PN) government.

Despite a warning from Bukit Aman’s Criminal Investigations Department (CID) director Abd Jalil Hassan that those who take part in the protest may be investigated under the Sedition Act, Penal Code and Communications and Multimedia Act 1998, on Twitter, Malaysians found creative ways to show their protest with many using black rubbish bags, T-shirts and headscarves.bendera