- Ambiga, Arul, Anthony Loke and Dr Hatta have been released by the magistrate
- 23 youths were slapped with three-day remands
- Six under-age youths were remanded one day
- Hisham Rais has just been nabbed (under s143 unlawful assembly) by seven men
- Rafizi was asked to report to the police station
- Police are said to be looking for Fariz Musa
Rafizi is the latest to be asked to report at police headquarters. Yes, Rafizi again. And now Hisham Rais has been detained.
So it looks as if they have detained leaders, from civil society, PSM, DAP, PKR and the progressive faction of Pas. These groups had mobilised their supporters to attend the Workers’ Day rally.
Folk hero Zunar in the crowd heading from Pasar Seni to KLCC. pic.twitter.com/inIy5CYMjR
— Anil Netto (@anilnetto) May 1, 2015
These leaders were merely among a crowd of 20000 exercising their universal right to freedom of peaceful assembly at the Workers Day rally yesterday.
I heard Ambiga speaking yesterday at Pasar Seni. She only spoke for a few minutes in her usual clear and persuasive style, urging the crowd not only to reject the GST but to say no to all repressive laws.
So it is ironic that she was arrested for investigation under those laws, apparently s143 of the Penal Code for unlawful assembly.
Ambiga mula terdera unggun semakin menyala.
— A Samad Said (@asamadsaid) May 2, 2015as if
This was a Workers Day rally. In fact, the entire march from Pasar Seni to KLCC, where speakers addressed the rally participants surrounded by the glitzy icons of capitalism – gleaming steel and glass towers, electronic billboards, upmarket malls – was peaceful, the atmosphere cheerful, the camaraderie infectious.
Tolak GST! Can you hear the people sing?! — Sent by WhatsApp pic.twitter.com/JAMCu9qUh2
— Anil Netto (@anilnetto) May 1, 2015
Someone, allegedly from a so-called ‘anarchist group’, many of them masked or wearing sunglasses so no one knew who they really were, let off some orange smoke near Pasar Seni. People looked a bit curious but one seemed unduly alarmed by their antics, not even the dozen or so uniformed police personnel around.
I did tell others around me that this would be played up in the media to make it look as if there was some sort of huru-hara.
Along the route, I did not spot any traffic police and it was left to rally participants to deftly guide traffic.
Near the Petronas Twin Towers, the owners of the premises had cordoned off the green area to prevent the crowd from spilling into the area. Security guards patrolled the area to keep out the public.
Someone asked one of the guards if these greens weren’t a public area.
A plainclothes man appeared and told the activist, “You all are gathering here now but the police are filming in the area and after this, there will be arrests.”
When the first arrests were made last night, I couldn’t help thinking about what this man had said.
Have those in the corridors of power not heard what Suhakam said about freedom of assembly – Suhakam, whose members are appointed on the recommendation of the government?
Bear in mind that in many civilised nations all around the world, workers held rallies and marches in the quest to uphold workers’ rights and seek better living conditions.
What is happening in Malaysia now is a far cry from Najib’s vow in 2011 to make Malaysia the world’s best democracy.
Meanwhile, the authorities should tell us the outcome of their investigations into the group of protesters that forced a church in Taman Jaya to remove the cross on their building.
Later, as I stepped into KLCC to hop into an LRT train, I noticed an entirely different crowd – shoppers thronging the mall, many of them oblivious to what was going on outside. Oh, Malaysia!