2342: Just off the line with Selangor state exco member Xavier Jayakumar. He told me that the speakers on stage in Sungai Petani tonight did not hear any police warnings to disperse.
Police fired water cannon and tear gas into the crowd, including women and children, as they moved in.
Children coming out of a neaby tuition centre were also doused by the spray from the water cannon; so were patrons in a nearby Chinese restaurant, according to Xavier.
Even the usual small itinerant traders selling Pakatan memorabilia were not spared the action. Police could be heard warning of even more aggressive action as they chased the people away. “The police action was aggressive,” observed Xavier.
According to Xavier’s blog:
2330: Dr Xavier and team have regrouped and are making their way back to their lodgings for the night.
2250: Anwar has managed to leave the chaos in Taman Ria, Sg Petani. Many of us are trying to locate friends that have run in every direction possible. Many people were injured in the chaos that ensued after the FRU opened the water cannons on the crowd.
The crowd was fired upon from the back. They had to no idea that the attack was coming. Many people had brought their entire families along to hear Dato Seri speak…
2245: The police and FRU have secured the perimeter of the ceramah area. The police even dismantled the tents, confiscated the rostrum and the PA equipment.
2235: Six people are believed to be arrested.
2225: The FRU continue to fire the water cannon and tear gas on PR supporters.
2215: The crowd of about 5,000 people have dispersed with the FRU on their tails. Many ran into the nearby housing areas (Tamans). The FRU gave chase and continued to fire tear gas even into the housing estates.
2200: Police have fired water cannon/tear gas to disperse a crowd of several thousand (1,000-5,000), including women and children at a ceramah in Sungai Petani. The tear gas was fired, apparently without any warning, just as Anwar was about to speak after greeting the crowd in several languages.
The situation is described as chaotic and even the reporters are in a state of shock. Police are securing the perimeter.
Anwar was due to address the ceramah in Taman Ria in Sungai Petani tonight.