Malaysian Bar's Press Release: Respect the Right to Peaceful Assembly
Freedom of assembly and freedom of expression were again dealt a severe blow yesterday with the arrest of 23 citizens – including journalists and activists, a Member of Parliament, State Assemblypersons and a City Councillor – who were participants in a peaceful gathering to commemorate the first anniversary of last year's BERSIH rally.
While the Bar Council disagrees with the laws curtailing the right to assemble and express dissent, we are concerned that the authorities seem to use these laws selectively to disperse and arrest demonstrators. Several demonstrations against the Pakatan Rakyat government's policies in
This gives rise to the perception that police actions are not based on any objective criteria relating to preservation of public order. Such subjectivity breeds the notion that the authorities act in a biased, or even arbitrary, manner.
We call on the police to protect the rights of speech, expression and assembly of all those who legitimately engage in expressing dissent, fairly and without bias.
We should also note a special thank you to the Bar Council for their swift action in sending some members of the Bar to the PJ Police Headquarters immediately after the arrests of the vigilors, to assist them through the police procedures. You have shown that you indeed walk the talk. To Ambiga & Co, hats off!
by Argus Eye.