29 arrested, smoke bombs seized after KL anti-GST rally, cops say

Anti GST protestors are seen dressed in black and red during the May Day rally, at KLCC, May 1, 2015, Kuala Lumpur. — Picture Yusof Mat Isa
Anti GST protestors are seen dressed in black and red during the May Day rally, at KLCC, May 1, 2015, Kuala Lumpur. — Picture Yusof Mat Isa

KUALA LUMPUR, May 1 — Police confirmed tonight that a total of 29 protesters were arrested and several smoke bombs seized this evening after the anti-GST rally in the city.

According to The Star Online, KL CID chief Senior Asst Comm Zainuddin Ahmad said the arrests were conducted at about 7.30pm, more than two hours after the rally that saw more than 10,000 people throng the city streets came to a close.

“We arrested 29 people, one of which is a woman. They are aged 17 to 41-years-old,” he was quoted by the news portal as saying, adding that police will seek remand orders tomorrow.

The portal also reported SAC Zainuddin confirming that smoke bombs were seized from some of the protesters.

The 29 were arrested under Sections 143, 427 and 448 of the Penal Code, Section 4 of the Corrosive and Explosive Substances and Offensive Weapons Act.

Section 143 states that those who are members of an unlawful assembly shall be punished with a maximum six-month jail term or a fine or both.

According to Lawyers for Liberty (LFL) co-founder Latheefa Koya, however, 59 people were detained by police over the rally, The Star Online reported.

Lawyer Michelle Yesudas, who went to the KL district police headquarters in the city this evening following reports of the arrests, claimed that the detainees have been denied access to lawyers.

The news portal also said there are some 50 people gathered outside the police headquarters, some with candles, to show support for those detained.

Earlier tonight, Negara-ku patron and rights activist Datuk Ambiga Sreenavasan confirmed with Malay Mail Online that the police had called her in for questioning over her participation in the rally.

She also said that she was informed that she would be held overnight. Ambiga, who is also the former Bar Council president, later turned up at the station to be questioned.

Others who have been hauled up include Parti Sosialis Malaysia secretary-general S. Arutchelvan, PKR vice president Chua Tian Chang, Jingga 12 coordinator Fariz Musa and DAP national organising secretary Anthony Loke.

The rally by civil society movement #KitaLawan kicked off shortly after 2.30pm this afternoon from several meeting points and drew a reported crowd of nearly ten thousand participants to the streets of the capital.

There has been no report of injuries or casualties arising from the rally that is said to have progressed peacefully in a march by a sea of thousands of Malaysians clothed in red and black.

After the event, however, police claimed on their official Facebook account that the rally was not fully under control, citing incidents of alleged vandalism and smoke bombs being thrown by the protesters to back up its claim.

The police also said protesters had brought children to the rally – an offence under the Peaceful Assembly Act.

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