Monday, July 11, 2011

Police detain 18 in Bintulu Bersih swoop

Joseph Tawie | July 10, 2011

Seventeen of the 18 Sarawakians arrested in connection with the Bersih 2.0 'Walk for Democracy' rally have been released.

BINTULU: Eighteen PKR leaders and members were picked up in Bintulu at 2pm here yesterday even as Bersih 2.0 protesters clashed with police in Kuala Lumpur.

The PKR leaders were at a coffeeshop when a group of policemen came around and arrested them.

Native customary rights lawyer, Paul Raja and Krian assemblyman Ali Biju and Iban land activist Kelvin Kilo were among those detained.

“Somebody must have seen us drinking together and reported us to the police,” Paul told FMT.

He said police did not give them a reason for the arrest. But it is understood that the arrest were in relation to Bersih’s natiownide call for electoral reforms.

All 17 except for Kilo were released late yesterday evening after their statements were recorded. Kilo is still remanded for allegedly wearing the banned Bersih 2.0 T-shirt.

Janting Antalai, also a PKR leader and land rights lawyer, is representing all of them.

Meanwhile, in Kuala Lumpur five members of Sarawak NGOs were arrested while participating in the Bersih 2.0 rally.

They were Sarawak Dayak Iban Association (Sadia) member Matek Anak Gram and Niloh Anak Ason, Willie Kajan of Ulu Baram and a member of the Malaysian Election Observers network (MEO –NET), Doris Lawai who is from from Bengoh. They were all released last night.

The Bersih 2.0′s “Walk For Democracy” was a call for fair and free elections.

The walk which drew some 15,000 people was aimed at compelling the Election Commission (EC) to agree to Bersih 2.0′s eight-point demand for electoral reforms. Bersih 2.0 is a coalition of 62 non-governmental organisations and is non-political.

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