Monday, May 29, 2006

LAST DEMO AGAINST FUEL HIKE TURNED ULGY – EXCESSIVE VIOLENCE USED TO DISPERSE CROWD, MANY ARRESTED

The Headlines from MALAYSIAKINI & MERDERKA.COM














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The bloodied man, Amran Zulkifli , was hospitalized for treatment.

The Anti Fuel Price Hike Alliance (PROTES) organized the last of the protest and it coincided with the 3-month fuel hike anniversary at KLCC on Sunday 28 2006. PROTES is a loose alliance comprising opposition parties and NGOs.
“The hike of the electricity tariff is very much related to the petrol hike,” said Dr Hatta Ramli, spokesperson for the organiser ‘Protes’
“The increase in electricity tariff was attributed to the fuel hike and it has since been the main reason for Tenaga Nasional Berhad to justify the power tariff hike direct or indirectly,” argued Hatta who is also PAS treasurer.
The protest started off peacefully at about 10.30am, with a crowd estimated to be around 300-strong crowd near the entrance of KLCC with noisy chants and speeches.

The electricity tariffs hike by 12 percent was also raised. The riot police were ready for action with the backing of the water cannons (that can shoot chemicaly lazed water) and helicopters were hovering above.
As if on cue, when the DAP representative Ronnie Liu, mentioned the DAP’s gratitude for overwhelming support in the Sarawak state elections, the police ordered the crowd to disperse and when protesters refused to budge, the water cannon were directed at them and the police charged in and the melee followed with many arrests. Eyewitness reports tell of excessive violence being used by the FRU on several protestors.
The following is a report available from:

http://asia.news.yahoo.com/060528/afp/060528060736int.html

Malaysian police beat, arrest anti-government protestors
Sunday May 28, 2:12 PM
KUALA LUMPUR (AFP) - Malaysian police used batons and water cannons to disperse hundreds of anti-government protesters in the capital, arresting around a dozen activists and beating several.
Some 200 people, including opposition parties, non-government organizations and student groups gathered in front of
Kuala Lumpur's iconic Petronas Twin Towers in the latest of a series of rallies against steep fuel price rises.
Chanting "Protest!" and carrying banners saying "Cronies get rich while workers are oppressed", they also slammed a decision last week to raise electricity tariffs, the first hike in nearly a decade.
Some 100 riot police wielding batons and rifles stood guard in front of the towers, alongside several water cannon trucks, as helicopters flew overhead.
"Everybody is suffering from the fuel hike. Now electricity prices are also up. These two hikes will hit us hard, whether our pay is large or small," Hatta Ramli from the opposition Pan-Malaysia Islamic (PAS) party told the crowd.
"This price increase must be dropped, otherwise we will suffer even more," said democratic Action Party (DAP) leader Ronnie Liu.
Police warned the crowds to disperse but ugly scenes erupted when the demonstrators were slow to act.
They used a water cannon on the demonstrators, and proceeded to push and beat up stragglers as shocked shoppers and tourists looked on. Several protestors were seen being kicked by police before being arrested.
Liu, PAS youth chief Salahuddin Ayub, and 16 other activists were arrested,said the opposition newspaper Harakah. Police were not immediately available to confirm the figures.
The government has said that fuel subsidies will eventually be scrapped to channel funds towards building schools and rural infrastructure.
Fuel prices in
Malaysia are cheap compared to neighbouring nations, but due to the lack of public transportation, people remain dependent on their vehicles.

Read also an update (in Chinese) from


http://www.merdekareview.com/


http://www.merdekareview.com/member.php?redirect=news.php?n=1812

For MORE PICTURES of the demo & violence, go to Jeff Ooi’s Screenshots



More photos by DEMA from http://www.malaysiakini.com/pages/albums/bloody-sunday/

and following update from Brute force': Police get a beating

May 29, 06 7:42pm [extract]

The police are given an earful for resorting to force when breaking up a
peaceful demonstration yesterday.

* AI Malaysia executive director Josef Roy Benedict

Amnesty International condemns the alleged excessive use of force by the
police when dispersing a peaceful demonstration held at the Kuala Lumpur
City Centre yesterday...

The right to freedom of assembly and peaceful protest is an intrinsic part
of the right to freedom of expression. This right is guaranteed in Article
19 and 20 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and in Article 10 of
the Federal Constitution.

This action clearly illustrates the concerns... that torture and ill
treatment continues unabated in Malaysia, particularly by the police.

It also shows the lack of political will by the government to ensure that
operational methods and practices by the police are in line with
international standards as recommended by Suhakam and the Royal Commission
of Inquiry.

Amnesty International calls for a proper and full investigation into the
incident.
[...]
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