Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM) is gravely concern with the gangster-like violent actions taken by a group of youngsters who rudely broke up and attacked the students occupying Dataran Merdeka in the wee hours this morning.  We were informed that several individuals were beaten up and one has been rushed to hospital.

SUARAM condemns the continuous intimidation, attacks and harassment by the non-state actors and this is not the first incident where a group of people who act like gangsters to attack human rights defenders and the opposition.

Similar incident has occurred at several occasions; on 21 January 2012 a ceramah co-organised by the Anything But UMNO (ABU) movement and Hindraf at Jalan Kebun, Shah Alam was rudely broken up when the chairperson began the programme. One of the participants, Khrisnan, aged 33 years old, was beaten up by 15 youths and has been hospitalised at Sentosa Medical Centre.

On 26 February, at Speakers’ Corner, George Town, Penang, a group of thugs identified to be UMNO Youth and Perkasa members attacked the anti-Lynas protesters and thus injuring two reporters. Most shockingly, the police personnel looked on and did not do anything. Later, the Chief Police Officer (CPO) of Pulau Pinang Ayub Yaakob blamed it on the organisers for not informing the police about their event.

At Felda Lepar Hilir 1, Gambang, Pahang, YB Nurul Izzah Anwar, PKR MP for Lembah Pantai, was assaulted by Asrullah Affendi Abdullah, an assistant of UMNO Lepar state assemblyperson Mohd Shohaimi Jusoh. Forums by student activists and the Anything But UMNO (ABU) Movement also experienced similar attacks in Klang and until now no one has been charged in court.

This is a stark reminder of the dirty and violent tactics used at an Asia Pacific Coalition for East Timor II (Apcet II) conference held at a hotel in Kuala Lumpur in November 1996 when a group of thugs stormed the meeting venue and broke down the doors of the conference halls, threw chairs and verbally and physically abused the participants.

Such gangsterism acts must be stopped.  It is the duty and responsibility of the police to protect citizens exercising their constitutional right to assemble and speak.

SUARAM demands that the IGP conducts an investigation immediately on acts of violence and arrest the offenders who have committed such crimes. SUARAM is appalled by the arrests and the on-going crackdown on freedom of expression and peaceful assembly, a fundamental right which is guaranteed under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Federal Constitution of Malaysia.
We also call upon the government to put a stop to such acts of violence, which runs contrary to Article 10 of the Federal Constitution that allows for freedom of speech, assembly and association.
Released by,
Nalini Elumalai
Executive Director

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