When the bar council announced the cancellation of the People's Freedom walk that was planned on Dec 9th 2007 some days ago, I was most disappointed. Upset because, the Police still maintained their right to 'approve a permit', and the Bar had decided that this walk was not important enough to proceed. I was wrong. I found out today that the Bar Council itself was torn as internally it had both proponents for and against the walk.
(perhaps one should know now that for the past two years, the Bar council had proceeded with this walk with express approval from the Police simply because a junior officer at the council had actually applied for the permit).
Of course, this is Malaysia. When 5 or more people are gathered in a public place, a permit MUST BE OBTAINED! What ballocks! Whilst the federal Constitution allows for the right to gather, it still has to have the approval from the Police! Malaysians who truly believed in their rights did just that. They showed up to walk for all the deterioration that they have seen in today's Malaysia.
From the junction of Tunku Abdul Rahman and Dang Wangi (the former Campbell road) thye walk proceeded with 6 lawyers leading and some 50 odd marchers. A small group of discerning Malaysians. This march proceeded no less than 50 metres before being stopped by a group of Policemen. With a loudhailer in hand, the top ranking officer proceeded to warn all those present about their illegal assembly, and warned that if the group did not disperse, they will arrest on sight. This was indeed disturbing, seeing that the group was only intending to walk towards the BAR Council office.
I am more convinced now than ever that the ruling Barisan Government is adamant in keeping us the rakyat (or part of the rakyat) that feel that there are things that need to be corrected in the administration. Why? Judging from the police personnel and City Council enforcement officers around, it was clear that the Govt. needed all eyes and ears on the ground! There was even an ITIS (Intergrated Traffic Information System which helps monitor vehicle traffic) mobile vehicle to follow and monitor the 'situation'! Sorry, but I clearly read that the ITIS system was formed to disseminate information for the dispersal of traffic. (for that, you be the judge yourself, look at this two ITIS boards along the Federal Highway and find what information is available to us) So, what was ITIS there for? To record 'the march' or what? Tell me. I need to know.
ITIS 'Mobile vehicle - BN Govt's eye on the road!
Is this even legal?
I cannot imagine this sort of Police action in a country like....Australia.
Don't take my word for it, watch the you tube videos I have posted on the arrest of the marchers, and the warnings, despite the march being peaceful and orderly.
The arrest of 8 people (5 lawyers and 3 activist) saw a group of us going to the Police Contingent HQ of Kuala Lumpur to provide support and legal assistance (Haris was with us so we made our way there) . Where do we go from here?
My summary of the morning :
50 odd Malaysians who wanted to walk from one point to another while displaying their banners on Human rights
500 policemen and women (Figures from SP Che Ismail Che Wan) who were mobilised to 'keep the peace'
A nasi lemak stall which made an addition of RM70 from food and drinks sold to blogger
A mamak stall which made an addition of RM60-70 from Media and Bloggers present at the City police headquarters to await for the outcome of the arrest
5 lawyers and 3 activist arrested (one activist for unrelated events and Lawyer Edmund Bon for refusing the City Council their request for the removal of Human rights banner)
80 or more Media personnel
Traffic jams encountered by those who motored into the city, thanks to Police road closures
2 police helicopters
Numerous police Cars and Motorcycles (no FRU trucks and personnel)
Read also: tok Mommy's
Read also: screenshots
**you tube videos will be embedded once approved by you tube.