The organisers of the #TangkapNajib rally today, which witnessed the detention of 29 individuals, have questioned if the police can be trusted after the latter broke their promises with the slew of arrests.
The police allegedly began arresting three activists yesterday despite promising to invite them only for negotiations, and then proceeded to arrest 29 more today who participated in the anti-Najib rally organised by a youth activist group, Demi Malaysia.
“The rally this afternoon was supposed to be a litmus test for Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, who is in charge of police,” said Demi Malaysia representatives Adrian Lim and Tarmizi Anuwar in front the of the Jinjang police lock up today, where all the 32 are being held.
What transpired today showed that the authorities are breaking “promise after promise” and are ignoring the supremacy of the federal constitution and fundamental human rights, they added.
“The million dollar question is, can Malaysians still trust the police?” they asked.
About 50 people gathered for a candlelight vigil for those arrested today at the Jinjang police station, with chants of “Tangkap Najib” (arrest Najib) and speeches by youth leaders.
The 29 arrested today comprised 23 men and six women, between the ages of 14 to 69.
Yesterday, three activists – Mandeep Singh, Adam Adli and Syukri Razab – were arrested ahead of today’s rally.
All of them are being investigated under Section 124 and 143 of the Penal Code.
Section 124 relates to offences deemed threatening parliamentary democracy, while Section 143 relates to unlawful assembly.
The three activists arrested yesterday have been remanded for between four to six days, while the 29 others will have remand hearings tomorrow.
They are being represented by lawyers Michelle Yesudas, Melissa Sasidaran, Eric Paulsen, Latheefa Koya, and Wong Kar Fai.
The organisers have maintained that the rally is lawful and follows the fundamental right to assembly provided under the federal constitution.
“We are of the opinion that the crackdown is aimed at installing a culture of fear into Malaysians.” they said.
Activist Hishamuddin Rais, who was also arrested today, will be brought to the Jinjang remand centre and will have his remand hearing tomorrow as well, his lawyer G. Sivamalar tweeted this evening. – August 1, 2015.
BY RAM ANAND, The Malaysian Insider