Sunday, December 9, 2007

5 Lawyers, 3 Activists Arrested

I missed out the walk from SOGO to Central Market today, but I decided to meet some of the bloggers directly from the BAR Council office today.

From General Hospital from the Pahang Roundabout, there was a roadblock already and the road towards Merdeka Square was sealed off from SOGO point because of the supposedly protest walk. That means, I had to detour at Campbell Road and go via St. John's Church. The police had perceived the walk as a protest march / illegal assembly instead of the typical group party. According to Zorro, the police at the SOGO end allowed them to walk but the police group at the other end demanded them to dispersed in two minutes. Unfortunately, they do not have space to move out and it was through the intervention of other lawyers that they are allowed to move out of the space and walk towards the BAR Council office via Merdeka Square. However, that ended with the four lawyers arrested and being intimidated by the police.

True to be told, the number of media and police is at 5:1, 500 against 100 lawyers and other citizens alike. I actually parked my vehicle at St. John's church and walked all the way there, gazing my eyes at the policemen standing and just a helicopter flying around the city. Just because of one roadblock, it becomes a traffic jam in the city. Yes, as what Nuraina said, the police had absolutely nothing to do and their priorities had deviated from its main priority of arresting hardcore criminals roaming the streets of Malaysia.

All the top bloggers were there, including Stephen, Jeff, Shar, Bernard, Tony and Michelle. I think at this time they had their accounts up already. There were two press conferences at that time, one by Edmund Bon, later arrested by police and another by that idiot Hamzah Ismail (the policeman who issued the warning a day before). Every media, including mainstream media were there including Reuters and Malaysiakini interviewed Haris as well.

I happened to saw that activist from Singapore, Ashfar Ali Raja as one of those who make the squealing and ranting out in the Bar Council exterior. He was later taken away from the police when I heard him saying out loud from his lungs.

One thing was curious though...I noticed a DBKL ITIS (traffic monitoring van) parked opposite the building. That van was supposedly used to monitor the traffic around the city, but the authorities had misused the resources and wasted a lot of man power in attempting to stamp down on the so called Human Rights Festival Day. This caused a sense of curiosity and confusion between myself and Tony.

Not much left apart from discussing their accounts and we went for some nasi lemak breakfast at Kampung Baru. Some of the photos seen are borrowed from Stephen, who was with me together with the big group we met during the Bersih Rally. At that time around 10:30 a.m, we got preliminary assessment from Jeff via the Star alert that there are 4 activists and 4 lawyers arrested, and that showed on Bernama and The Star.

I would later join the group at the KL police headquarters in Pudu later on. I wanted to learn what happened after the rally. True to be told according to Haris and Jeff, the final tally was 5 lawyers arrested and 3 activists. The 5 lawyers include Edmund, Sivarasa, Latifah Koya, Surendren, and Amir Hamzah. The 3 activists include a woman who got arrested in a tough manner by a female police officer and of course Ashfar.

At noon, there was still no word from them apart the word that BAR president Ambiga was not allowed to enter IPK. All of the 8 arrested are charged under Section 28 of the Police Act 1967. It was around noon where Michelle told us that Edmund was held for attempting to stop the police from removing the banners. By rights, the banners and advertisements are under the jurisdication of the City Council and the police had indeed crossed the line of stopping the rally with such act against Edmund.

Update, 4.45 p.m: The BAR Council is screaming over the top for Edmund's arrest.

I am divided over whether the police had to act under the direction of a paranoid superior or the government thinks that with police and things as their weapon of choices, they can strike things down. But the politicians have totally forgotten that it is the citizens and people who have the power of deciding who is to run the nation. Be prepared to lose seats next general election!

Addendum: I was back at IPK after a drink or so when Jonson Chong came out and told us that the police had moved out to bring the heads of the BERSIH rally back to IPK for questioning. One of them, is Mohammad Sabu of PAS who was taken from Ipoh all the way back here for interrogation. The addendum can also be viewed at Jeff's posting below.

Further Accounts:

1. Jeff: Cops Outnumber People 5:1
2. Nuraina: Sunday Walk
3. Stephen: Human Rights...What Rights?
4. Rocky: Walking With 500 Cops
5. Tony: A Walk Too Far

Previous Post: Now This is A Police State!

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