More Than 1400 Malaysian Protesters Arrested

Malaysian police say has been arrested more than 1,400 people during protests demanding electoral reforms in Kuala Lumpur on Saturday (09/07/2011).

Malaysian Police Chief Inspector General Ismail Omar told a news conference Saturday night said, it would free them as soon as possible after the investigation against those arrested, mainly on charges of illegal meeting.


Among those arrested were opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim who had opposed the National Front, Abdul Hadi Awang, President of the Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS), the largest opposition party in Malaysia, and Ambiga Sreenivasan, leader of the Net Coalition, which organized rallies .



Malaysian police used teargas and water cannon against protesters who took to the streets against the government.


About 8,000 protesters against anti-riots police line in front of the bus station in the heart of Kuala Lumpur by pushing the crowd toward the police line. Protesters took tear gas canisters and threw back at police.
Opposition leader, Anwar Ibrahim, was injured during the protests when falling on a sidewalk after a tear gas attack. He was taken to the hospital because his condition is not good, said the bodyguard.


The protesters are divided into three main groups. After lunch, they tried to force through the cordon to get into the stadium and then to the Palace of the King to hand over a memorandum containing the demands of the masses.


"Why is the government trying to intimidate a citizen?" Abdullah Mohamad said Manij (50), businessmen who joined the rallies. "We're just trying to reform the election so we have a clean government and fair," said Abdullah told AFP.


One student, Chew Ai Nee (30), said, "We have to take to the streets because we were not given the opportunity to express our demands for change. The government can not silence us when we do demonstrations."


Many of the protesters chanted, "Reformation, God is Great, Life of the People."
Meanwhile, Mukhriz Mahathir, a member of a political party UMNO-Barisan Nasional coalition led by Prime Minister Najib Razak, who came to power, told AFP, the government must act to prevent acts of anarchist. "We can not allow minority groups to protest and trashed this country," he said, accusing the protesters of provoking the police who fired tear gas. "They can accuse the government of violence."
Deputy Director of Human Rights Watch (HRW) Asia Division Phil Robertson, based in New York, criticized the Malaysian police who made arrests of protesters.


Commercial and tourist area in downtown Kuala Lumpur which is usually busy on weekends, this Saturday was quiet.
Worries over growing violence in Malaysia highlighted the emerging plan pro-government counter-demonstration.
Protesters want the reforms, including the eradication of logrolling and the prevention of people standing for election several times during the election.


Net Coalition wants the use of indelible ink to prevent repeat voting, granting access to the same media and equitable to all parties, as well as cleansing the voter list.
Malaysian opposition get a big advantage in the 2008 election against the ruling government coalition. However, they can win elections more fair if the rules.
Malaysia upcoming election expected to be held early in 2012. The opposition wants to end the hegemony of Barisan Nasional which has a half-century in power in Malaysia. (AFP / CNA / KSP)


source:kompas.com

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