Jan 6, 2008

Water cannon to disperse anti ISA Movement crowd

Using water cannon to wash away old sin and welcome the new year?.

(Malaysiakini) The police today used water cannon to disperse a crowd who had earlier defied a ban and successfuly held a short candlelight vigil at Dataran Merdeka.

At the end of the brief 20-minute vigil, some remnants of the crowd remained behind in the vicinity of Dataran Merdeka attempting to continue their vigil against the Internal Security Act, a tough law which allows detention without trial.

The police, who had reluctantly allowed the candlelight vigil despite a police ban against the gathering, deployed the water cannon to disperse the remaining crowd who had assembled at a bus-stop in Lebuh Ampang after issuing them warnings to break up.

The Abolish the ISA Movement (GMI), the organiser of the vigil, had also urged the crowd to disperse.

Moments after being awashed with water at about 9.20pm, the crowd numbering about 30 ran along the Lebuh Ampang road, followed closely by the police aiming to arrest them.

Update from International Herald Tribune

Malaysian riot police break up rally to protest detention without trial law

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia: Banging batons against their shields, Malaysian police Saturday chased away hundreds of demonstrators who held a candlelight vigil to protest against a decades-old law allowing indefinite detention without trial.

A water cannon fired a single burst to drive away the last stragglers among the crowd in downtown Kuala Lumpur, ending a 90-minute standoff.

Police had banned the rally to protest the Internal Security Act. It was the latest in a series of protests that had rocked the government in recent months. Any gathering of more than four people requires a police permit.

"It is a peaceful gathering just to send a message that all citizens have a right to voice their feelings," said Syed Ibrahim Syed Noh, chairman of the Abolish ISA Movement that organized the rally.

"This law is unjust. I think it is time to voice our human rights," he said, adding that the group would hold more protests.

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