When S. Ambiga spoke her mind…

Anti GST Rally, 1st May 2015: The Rally and Consequences

S. Ambiga:

The sight of the youngsters in handcuffs and chains had a profound effect on many of us who saw them. I remember trying to make them feel better by saying that I too had been arrested. But it sounded hollow.

I had a battery of lawyers and friends by my side. I was not handcuffed and chained. They were alone, and I will never forget the fear in their eyes. The lawyers there then jumped in to help them. But what if we had not been there?

And what was their offence? Maybe some of them took part in the same rally – but so had 10,000 others. Some of them said they were sitting and having  a drink at a time after the rally had ended when they were set upon by the police.

Malaysian Insider

Who are the youths arrested over Workers Day rally?

BY MELATI A. JALIL AND JENNIFER GOMEZ

Published: 5 May 2015 8:54 AM

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Many of the youths participating in the anti-GST rally on Workers Day were masked and wanted to draw attention to socio-political and economic issues affecting Malaysians on a daily basis. – The Malaysian Insider pic, May 5, 2015.

Some of the 29 youths arrested for participating in the May 1 Workers Day rally are said to be members of the anarchist and punk scenes from Kuala Lumpur and other states, a Facebook page called Pustaka Semesta said.

Since the rally on Friday which drew an estimated 10,000 people to the heart of the capital, the page, which describes itself as an “info shop”, has been posting updates on the youths, 23 of whom have been in remand since Saturday and are expected to be released later today.

In a recent post, the administrator of the page said some of the detainees said they were “beaten by the cops when they were taken in”.

The page has been calling on friends and supporters of those detained to come to the Dang Wang police headquarters, where the youths are being held, to show solidarity over the past few days since the arrests. Six of the youths, who were underage, were released on Saturday night.

In its first post about the arrest on May 2, a day after the Workers Day rally, the administrator said a few of the 29 arrested were “friends from the anarchist and punk scenes from Kuala Lumpur, Kuantan and Malacca”.

It added that one person was arrested while trying to leave the scene as arrests were being made on Friday evening, while another who was recording the incident on his phone was also arrested by plainclothes policemen.

The page also said that youths were justified in committing property damage and vandalism as these were “direct actions that intend to draw attention to socio-political and economic issues that affect us on a daily basis”.

During the rally, youths dressed in black, some wearing hoods and who had their faces covered, were seen setting off smoke bombs, throwing firecrackers on the road, burning rubbish and spray-painting graffiti on signboards and metal hoardings.

For more, read:

Malay Mail Online

23 May Day rally detainees to walk free today, lawyer says

BY BOO SU-LYN

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KUALA LUMPUR, May 5 — A lawyer said today that police have informed him that the 23 people who were detained over the recent May Day rally against the Goods and Services Tax (GST) will be released later today without being charged.

Eric Paulsen, one of the lawyers representing the group, said the 23 were arrested under Section 143 of the Penal Code on illegal assembly and Section 4 of the Corrosive and Explosive Substances and Offensive Weapons Act 1958 on the use of corrosive or explosive substances or offensive weapons.

“He said they won’t be charged and they’ll be released ‘petang’ (afternoon or evening),” Paulsen told Malay Mail Online, referring to an investigating officer from the Dang Wangi district police headquarters.

“The only police report lodged on the 23 is just the smoke bomb that was released at Central Market. To us, it seems exaggerated,” the lawyer added.

Paulsen also said another man was arrested separately last Friday on the day of the rally for allegedly participating in an illegal assembly and for allegedly possessing a dangerous weapon, adding that the police had searched his house.

“This one fell off the radar. So now, another lawyer, Sivamalar, she’ll be going for his remand this morning,” he said.

– See more at: http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/23-may-day-rally-detainees-to-walk-free-today-lawyer-says?utm_medium=twitter&utm_source=twitterfeed#sthash.0IsnxD0y.dpuf

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Malaysiakini

Malaysiakini

8:38AM May 4, 2015

By Ambiga Sreenevasan

Silence not an option for us

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COMMENT The sight of the youngsters in handcuffs and chains had a profound effect on many of us who saw them. I remember trying to make them feel better by saying that I too had been arrested. But it sounded hollow.

I had a battery of lawyers and friends by my side. I was not handcuffed and chained. They were alone, and I will never forget the fear in their eyes. The lawyers there then jumped in to help them. But what if we had not been there?

And what was their offence? Maybe some of them took part in the same rally – but so had 10,000 others. Some of them said they were sitting and having  a drink at a time after the rally had ended when they were set upon by the police.

The rally was peaceful. No one was hurt. People had fun. The police facilitated it well. Yes, there were firecrackers and one or two smoke bombs, which could have been dealt with by the police on the spot. Not much more.

These youngsters had not forced a religious house to take down a cross. They had not asked for holy books to be burned. They had not made racist and extremist comments. Yet here they were, being treated like criminals.

They were bewildered, and alone

I chanced upon some of them the next day when I was sent to be photographed and fingerprinted. They were there to be photographed and fingerprinted too,I believe. Was this necessary? They still looked bewildered and alone. Some of them had not even contacted their families.

That morning the magistrate had issued a three-day remand order against them. Three days? For what? To frighten them? To punish them?

These children (and I call them children because I have children that age) will never be the same again after this traumatic experience. They will grow up having experienced the ugliness in the system that we have allowed to fester and grow. We have failed them.

Silence is not an option. Not if we want Malaysia to be a place where our young can grow up in peace and security and feel safe, knowing that the institutions will be fair and will not behave as if they are above the law.

AMBIGA SREENEVASAN is a former chairperson of the Bar Council. She, too, was detained overnight in connection with the anti-GST rally.

Read the whole comment here:

http://www.malaysiakini.com/news/297150?hootPostID=01a2d855ee4f4d9a0a61670563e49472

Malaysiakini

12:50PM May 4, 2015

Police move to extend remand on 23 youths

Police are seeking to extend the remand order obtained against 23 youths arrested in connection with last Friday’s anti-goods and services tax rally, according to Lawyers for Liberty (LFL)

In a series of tweets today, LFL said the 23, who on May 2 were remanded for three days, were due to be released today.

“We have been contacting the IO (investigating officer) and we were initially informed this morning that they will be released.

“However, at 10am, we were informed that they intend on keeping them once more and will apply for remand,” LFL tweeted.

The organisation has mobilised three lawyers to defend the 23.

http://www.malaysiakini.com/news/297182?hootPostID=d3c4327c0eed5ec5450c908d891889fe

“The campaign (of the police) is to punish those who went to the rally,” she added.

Malaysiakini

9:16AM May 4, 2015

By RK Anand

Ambiga flays ‘faceless cowards’ of Bukit Aman

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Recalling her experience of being detained overnight, former Bar Council president Ambiga Sreenevasan says she does not harbour a grudge against police personnel on the ground who were just following instructions.

However, Ambiga has a bone to pick with their superiors on the hill in Bukit Aman.

“For me, these faceless and nameless people giving the orders are the real cowards. Their action is based on a set agenda and this is not professional policing.

“The police personnel on the ground treated us reasonably well and kept telling us they were following orders. My quarrel is not with them,” she told Malaysiakini.

Ambiga said despite being asked to come to the Dang Wangi police headquarters last Friday night for taking part in the anti-GST rally, her statement was only recorded hours later.

“When I received the call that night, my lawyer and I asked the police why the matter could not wait until the next day. But they insisted that I come in. I went there about 9.30pm, but my statement was only recorded about 3am,” she revealed.

The police also told her that she would be taken to the Jinjang police station to be held overnight and attempted to handcuff her.

“I pulled away and insisted that I was not going, so there was a bit of pulling and tugging.

“I asked that they take my statement right then and they did. The process only lasted about 45 minutes,” she said, adding that she was then allowed to wait in a room, under the watchful eye of a policewoman, until morning

Ambiga said the police are using their arresting powers and remand process as a “system of punishment” when it should be done to facilitate investigations.

‘Aim of the arrest is to dehumanise’

“That’s what happened to me. They used their arresting powers to punish me. The dehumanising that takes place is incredible. The aim of the process is to dehumanise. It is vicious, because there is no respect for liberty,” she added.

Read the rest here:

http://www.malaysiakini.com/news/297156

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This entry was posted in malaysia politics, May Day anti GST Rally, PDRM, S Ambiga and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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