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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

‘Bullied by the state’

Bersih supporters denounce police for kowtowing to BN

KUALA LUMPUR: It is state-sponsored intimidation. That is what activists are saying about the police crackdown on supporters of the July 9 Bersih rally.

Kuantan MP Fuziah Salleh, Sarah Devaraj of Suaram and Maria Chin Abdullah of the Bersih 2.0 steering committee spoke to reporters in the parliament lobby today about the ongoing arrests and accused the Royal Malaysian Police Force of allowing itself to be used by Barisan Nasional for its selfish interest.

Chin said 15 police officers were in the midst of raiding Bersih’s Petaling Jaya office even as the press conference was going on. Bersih activists told FMT afterwards that the officers refused to produce a warrant allowing the raid.

In Sungai Siput this morning, police arrested 14 DAP and PKR members for being in possession of the yellow T-shirts associated with the July 9 Walk for Democracy. That brought to 95 the number of those arrested so far in connection with the rally.

“When was wearing these T-shirts against the law?” said Fuziah. “The police are being used by BN for its own interests.”

Chin alleged that eight of the arrested 95 were being held in solitary confinement and said she was bewildered by the heavy-handed police action.

“Solitary confinement for wearing T-shirts? What is this justice that we are talking about? Why are they so hard on us just because we want free and fair elections?”

Devaraj said Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Ismail Omar was accountable for the recent raids and arrests.

“We call upon the IGP to release all those arrested thus far,” she said, citing the Federal Constitution as guaranteeing the right to peaceful assembly.

“We want them to be released without any charges.”

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