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Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Orang Asli march to court in solidarity with arrested activists



The 41 Orang Asli activists arrested yesterday have been remanded for two days, over their anti-logging blockade in the interiors of Gua Musang, Kelantan.
"Sadly, the court gave two days' remand out of seven days requested. I tried my best," lawyer Siti Kasim said in a Facebook posting.
They were arrested yesterday afternoon, when police and the Forestry Department destroyed the blockade set up to stop logging at the Balah, Perias and Stong Selatan forest reserves.
Video footage of the incident near Simpang Petei yesterday showed the group singing the national anthem Negaraku in a bid to stop the operation, before the authorities moved in.
Earlier, 50 Orang Asli marched to the Gua Musang courthouse, where the 41 arrested activists were facing their remand hearing.
The group chanted as they marched, saying things such as "Free our friends", "Long live Orang Asli" and "Long live rakyat Kelantan".
Malaysiakini learnt some 100 personnel from the General Operations Force (GOF) of the police were mobilised to bring down the blockade and were accompanied by Kelantan Forestry Department officers.

There were scenes of wooden huts being destroyed with what appeared to be a chainsaw, as well as of authorities kicking down the poles holding up the huts and later, the Orang Asli looking on at their destroyed structures in the rain as they put on raincoats.
They were held at the Gua Musang district police headquarters and were supposedly arrested by the Kelantan Forestry Department.
The activists were reportedly told that the police only "facilitated" the operation to ensure that everything went smoothly.- Mkini

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