Monday, November 10, 2008

BERSIH Candlelight Vigil: Police charge into crowd midway through Negaraku.

In an unwarranted display of sheer arrogance today, the police charged into a crowd of about 400 Malaysians while the National Anthem was sung. The timing of the storm alone is testimony to the quality of the Malaysian Police Force. I just got back from the Petaling Jaya Police Station, where the 24 detainees would most likely be kept overnight before being charged tomorrow. It is 4.10am now and I'm certainly not within the right scope of physical capacity to blog, especially after having to endure a hide-and-seek game with the police around PJ State. I shall allow the pictures below to do the talking. Sorry for the quality of the images, as it was taken using my faulty camera phone.

Early images: Scenes at the field opposite Amcorp Mall at about 7.30pm.

The normally packed Amcorp Mall parking zone appears empty as most vehicles couldn't make it through. Police blocks were set up at various points leading to Amcorp Mall, forcing people to park hundreds of metres away. I received the news of the road blocks through Anil Netto's blog, and opted to park at the Taman Bahagia LRT Station and commute the train to Taman Jaya, which is right opposite Amcorp Mall. As seen, there were several police vihicles and the personnels were all on stand-by mode.

The little girl with her huge RPK T-shirt on. Our hopes for tomorrow.

Scenes at about 8.30pm

The crowd picks up steam and the police tries to disperse the crowd. A minor stand-off takes place but everything was under control. Some policemen were seen beating their baton against the trees, probably as a sign of intimidation. The crowd stays, but many seemed confused.

Haris arrives shortly after, and the crowd gathers in front of him at the Amcorp car park.

Tony Pua joins in.

The police interrupts the gathering again, this time along with the Chief Police of Selangor, Datuk Khalid Abu Bakar(in white). He warned that does who do not disperse will face the risk of an arrest as no permit was applied for the vigil. *Any sane citizen of Malaysia in the right frame of mind would know that the police permit would not have been approved even if it was rightly applied for.

The crowd then moves towards Amcorp Mall again, and conduct a short candlelight vigil. It ends with Haris leading them all to the tune of Negaraku. I met with 2 cops at the junction of the LRT Station, Sarjan Azizon and Sarjan Taufik. These men expressed their dissatisfaction over the course of events taking place in Malaysia, and conceded that they have no choice but to work under instructions of their higher ranking officials. They also suggested to me to wear my "I Am With RPK" T-Shirt upside down for if there were an order for an arrest-spree, those wearing this shirt and also the BERSIH ones would be arrested first.

At about 9.45pm, the crowd headed towards PJ Civic Centre, which is about 2 kilometres away. We marched there without any police intimidations. In fact, it appeared to many that the police have decided to call it a day. How they wish..

Scenes at about 10.00pm

At the entrance of PJ Civic Centre. There weren't many there yet when i reached. Most of them were still on their way.

The small crowd make their way from the entrance of PJ Civic Centre to the park which is about 30 metres aways.

The man himself, Raja Petra Kamarudin arrives, much to the joy of the crowd and gives a short speech. He asserts the importance of our continuous struggle against the abolishment of ISA.

Someone from the crowd proposed that we sang the Negaraku before releasing the balloons to mark the 1st anniversary of the BERSIH Rally. At this point, I was having a conversation with Hishamuddin Rais somewhere behind the main crowd. Midway through the National Anthem, the FRU charged in and started nabbing individuals. One seemingly plain-clothed FRU/Police personnel chased us as we ran towards the main entrance. We split at the entrance, with me moving towards the main road and Hishamuddin running into the PJ Civic Centre Building. Well, now that the cop did not trail me from there on, I can only assume that he had followed Hishamuddin into the building. Let's just hope he's safe.

I made my way across the road to meet up with my cousin, who also had a share of sprinting moments. The police were lurking around there as well, and we witnessed people being chased even into the Lotus Restaurant opposite the park. I wasnt able to take pictures of these events. It takes time for my faulty camera phone to start up, and time was something that wasn't on my side. We knew that we could be arrested any moment, and continued to flee the place. When we reached the HSBC Building, we noticed Raja Petra running too. That was surely a sight to remember.

Scene at 11.00pm

This is how it looked like outside the Petaling Jaya Police Headquarters. YB Charles Santiago was present(in picture, on the handphone). Others who were there include YB Lim Kit Siang, YB Gobind Singh Deo, YB Gwo Burne and YB Dr.Jeyakumar.

It is learnt that Tony Pua and Lau Weng San are among the 24 who had been arrested. Tony Pua was practically dragged and pulled into the Black Maria, while Weng San suffered major bruises as a result of being punched twice on his face.

The Malaysia Police Force never fails to amuse us with their constant act of stupidity. Well, if Syed Azidi was arrested for placing the Malaysian Flag upside down in his blog, what action should be take against the force who brutally stormed and physically assaulted the people of our country who were singing the National Anthem?

Im off to bed to catch an hour of sleep before attending Raja Petra's trial shortly at the PJ Sessions Court. Will keep you posted on that.

by Argus Eye.

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