Sunday, January 27, 2008

MORE PICS & Video – 56 Held in Anti-Price Hike Protest - KLCC Jan 26 08; 43 Males & 13 Females – Opposition & NGO leaders; 500 Protesters Outnumbered

MORE PICS & Video56 Held in Anti-Price Hike Protest - KLCC Jan 26 08; 43 Males & 13 Females including Opposition & NGO leaders & activists; Protesters Outnumbered by Police Personnel

UPDATE: January 27, 2008 23:30 PM
11 Who Participated In Illegal Assembly Freed

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 27 (Bernama) -- Eleven of the 56 people arrested Saturday for participating in an illegal assembly at the Kuala Lumpur City Centre (KLCC) have been released unconditionally, the police said. The other 45 were still being investigated for participating in the illegal gathering and for defying court order, said a statement from the Kuala Lumpur police headquarters.

"They were also arrested for obstructing public officers from discharging their duties," the statement said. Meanwhile, the proceedings to obtain remand orders for those who were still under police custody were still progressing at 8pm tonight at a Kuala Lumpur court, with 13 of them had already been issued with the remand order until tomorrow. Yesterday, police arrested 56 people including several opposition leaders and members of the non-governmental organisations (NGO) for participating in the illegal assembly which they said was to protest against rising cost of living.

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Jan 27, 2008 ; KL cops nip protest in the bud
Swift police action prevents rally against fuel and food price hikes; several people detained

ABOVE Brutal Arrest, Protester being arrested & held on by 5 Policemen for being in an illegal assembly

By Hazlin Hassan, Malaysia Correspondent, Via ST
KUALA LUMPUR - POLICE arrested over 50 opposition leaders and activists before they could stage a protest against inflation yesterday. With a helicopter hovering overhead and several trucks armed with water cannon on standby, the police crackdown on the anti-government rally was swift and decisive. Those arrested were expected to be held at least overnight, while police decide whether they should be charged. The crackdown, involving nearly 1,300 policemen, effectively quashed the planned protest aimed at highlighting public anger over rising prices of food and fuel, an issue that will figure prominently if elections are held any time soon. The organisers, Coalition Against Inflation, or Protes, had hoped to gather 5,000 people for yesterday's protest, but only about 200 people turned up. The authorities said the organisers had not applied for a permit to hold a public demonstration, but opposition leaders said their application would probably have been rejected anyway. Protes comprises Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS), Democratic Action Party (DAP), Keadilan and a few non-government organisations.

Yesterday, as protesters tried to gather near Kuala Lumpur's landmark, the Petronas Twin Towers, police swarmed in and bundled many into police trucks. Some protesters shouted 'Reformasi' - a popular battle cry during former deputy premier Anwar Ibrahim's sacking in 1998 - as they were driven off. 'There is no democracy at all,' protested Socialist Party of Malaysia chairman Mohamed Nasir, as he was led away. 'The leadership is so paranoid that there is no such thing as democracy in this country.' As curious onlookers watched, other would-be protesters lingered around for more than an hour before dispersing peacefully.
Kuala Lumpur police chief Muhammad Sabtu Osman said 53 people were arrested, including 13 women. Those arrested included opposition leaders such as Parti Keadilan Rakyat's Tian Chua, DAP's Ronnie Liu, PAS treasurer Hatta Ramli, and a journalist from online newspaper Malaysiakini.Malaysiakini said its journalist was detained while questioning a police officer over the arrests.
'It's almost ridiculous, conducting mass arrests before we even converged,' said Mr Tian Chua, who described the arrests as a 'brutal crackdown'. Protes had last tried to hold a protest against price hikes at the same place in May 2006. Then, 18 people were arrested and several others injured in scuffles with police.

The recent string of protests in this normally peaceful country comes at a bad time for the government, which is expected to hold elections in March. Malaysia's inflation last month hit a 10-month high of 2.4 per cent, driven by higher food and transport costs.

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Simultaneous arrests were made at several places including outside the entrance to KLCC and the Ampang LRT station. The arrests took place at about 3pm where the protest rally was expected to start. Among those arrested were Dr Hatta Ramli, Trasuurer of PAS and secretary to Protes.

ABOVE & BELOW: The crowd at KLCC

At 3.30 pm, some 200 PSM supporters marching from Ampang Park LRT station to KLCC were locked in a standoff with the police. 10 minutes later 12 PSM supporters & leaders were arrested including its secretary general S Arutchelvam Subramaniam after a minor scuffle. 100 supporters lingered on in KL CC before dispersing peacefully.

All those arrested were brought to the Police contingent headquarters for questioning. More than 100 uniform Police personnel were seen around the KLCC area well before the rally. A steel barricade was erected at the taxi stand at the entrance from Jalan Ampang to KLCC. Police were also stationed at the Ampang Park LRT station where the gathering was expected to march to KLCC were expected to gather. FRU Personnel were on standby since early morning. No violence was reported.
ABOVE & BELOW: At KLCC the crowds were waiting for Police Action

56 held for attending illegal protest rally

KUALA LUMPUR: Fifty-six people, including several opposition and non-governmental organisation (NGO) leaders, were arrested for attending a rally to protest against rising prices of fuel and other essential items. City police chief Deputy Comm Datuk Muhamad Sabtu Osman said police obtained an order from the magistrate's court to stop the rally by the Coalition Against Inflation (Protes). He said police dispersed the rally without using any force.

Among those arrested were five members of Protes named in the court order:(ABOVE) PAS treasurer Dr Hatta Ramli (BELOW), PKR information chief Tian Chua, Arutchelvam Subramaniam, Simon Oii and DAP leader Ronnie Liew. Others included Parti Sosialis Malaysia pro tem chairman Dr Mohd Nasir Hashim, PAS vice-president Mohamad Sabu, PAS think-tank head Dr Zulkifli Ahmad and Tian Chua’s secretary Ginie Lim.

ABOVE & BELOW: Arrested for being in an illegal gathering

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ABOVE & BELOW: The police trucks were waiting for a free lift to the Headquarters= == == = == = == == == = == == = == = == ==

ABOVE: Resisting arrest? BELOW: Away they go in the Police truck

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ABOVE & BELOW: Police barricade & blockage into KLCC

Malaysiakini journalist Syed Jamal Zahiid was detained for “asking too many questions”. According to Jamal, all he had asked was on what grounds were the police arresting people. Dr Hatta, Tian Chua and lawyer Jonson Chong were arrested while they were giving a press conference at a restaurant opposite the Australia High Commission in Jalan Yap Kwan Seng near KLCC. Dr Hatta told reporters that they would challenge the court order obtained by the police.

ABOVE & BELOW: The water cannons were spotted but were not used on that day

= == == =from NST; 2008/01/27; 56 held at illegal assembly
KUALA LUMPUR: Fifty-six people who took part in an illegal assembly yesterday to protest rising prices were arrested for defying a court order. They were part of a group of about 200 people who took to the streets near the Suria KLCC shopping centre. The protest was organised by the Coalition Against Inflation (Protes).

Police had issued a warning a day earlier( ABOVE), stating that the gathering was illegal as the organisers had not been issued a permit. Police had also obtained a court order barring the gathering and empowering police to arrest those who participated in the gathering.

ABOVE & BELOW: The stand-off with police who told them to "disappear"

The crowd started gathering at 2pm in front of Suria KLCC, Ampang Park shopping centre and the Tabung Haji building nearby. Some 1,300 policemen were on standby. Uniformed and plainclothes police personnel moved in about 3pm and began detaining the protesters. Federal Reserve Unit personnel were called in when the crowd starting resisting arrest.

Those detained were taken to the city police headquarters. Among those arrested were four of the five leaders of Protes named in the court order: They were Dr Hatta Ramli, Tian Chua, Arutchelvam Subramaniam and Simon Oii. Pas vice-president Mohamad Sabu was also detained.City police chief Datuk Muhammad Sabtu Osman said the detainees would be held for further investigations.

ABOVE & BELOW: The crowds & protesters along Jalam Ampang

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PLUS INSERTS & Reduced Speed Visuals


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