KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 20 — Attendees of last night’s candlelight vigil in remembrance of those dead from Covid-19 have all been released in the early morning after police resorted to violence when arresting them.
Organisers Sekretariat Solidariti Rakyat (SSR) announced the release at around 1.15am, following a stand-off where lawyers were prevented by police from seeing their clients.
“Thank you for the support from many people. Nonetheless, the struggle will continue, regardless of the intimidation,” SSR said in a brief statement.
Meanwhile, the police confirmed that 31 participants were arrested and brought to the Dang Wangi district police headquarters for their statements to be recorded.
“Investigation papers have been opened into the matter, under Section 9(5) of the Peaceful Assembly Act 2012 for gathering without notice, and Section 21A of the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988.
“The participants will also be investigated under the Regulations for the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Ordinance (No. 2) 2021 (Assembly Control)” Dang Wangi Police ACP Chief Noor Dellhan Yahaya said in a statement.
Dellhan added that compound notices were issued to those involved once their statements were recorded, with a fine of RM2,000 each.
In a statement issued yesterday, shortly after the 31 individuals were taken into custody from 10pm onwards, SSR claimed that the police threatened those detained with arrest, when they tried to determine if the police’s actions were in line with the Criminal Procedure Code.
“We do not know of their condition and situation, nor has any information about their detainment been relayed to our lawyers or us.
“Our lawyers who attempted to go into Dang Wangi police station to provide legal counsel have been prevented from doing so. As of 10.19pm, only two have been allowed into the station, to file a report against the obstructions faced in rendering legal counsel to our friends,” it said.
Videos on social media showed police officers dragging participants away and manhandling them. Some officers also refused to clarify if participants had been arrested despite being asked calmly.
At least one activist, Sarah Irdina from MISI:Solidariti, was also shown being assaulted by officers despite not resisting arrest.