The Star: Ceramah clash in Terengganu

Monday September 10, 2007
KUALA TERENGGANU: Seven people were injured – two with gunshot wounds – when opposition supporters clashed with police trying to disperse an illegal political gathering on Saturday night.

The riot was sparked when police ordered the crowd of 500 people gathering at Jalan Sultan Mahmud, close to Batu Burok, to disperse peacefully at 10pm. Despite five verbal warnings, the crowd became aggressive and verbally abused the Federal Reserve Unit personnel.
Soon they became even more aggressive and started hurling stones, homemade bombs and Molotov cocktails at police.
Police retaliated with tear gas and water cannons and in the melee, shots were fired injuring two opposition supporters, aged 21 and 38.
The two have been hospitalised. One is in serious condition with a neck injury at the Kubang Kerian Hospital in Kelantan.
Four policemen were also injured. One was warded at the Sultanah Nur Zahirah hospital.
By 12.35am, 13 people were detained and the situation was brought under control.
Police have obtained a remand order against four men believed to be members of opposition parties to facilitate police investigations into the clash. One of the remanded men is being investigated for having dangerous arms during the riot while two others are being investigated under the Explosive and Dangerous Weapons Act.
Police later released 19 men on police bail.
Several police 4WD and public vehicles were damaged in the clash. Kuala Terengganu Municipal Council’s decorative lights, flower pots, motorcycles, Umno flags and Barisan Nasional banners were also damaged. Damage was estimated at about RM1mil.
Terengganu police chief Senior Asst Comm Datuk Ayub Yaakob said 20 rioters attacked a policeman at Permai Inn Hotel’s car park.
“One of the injured policemen had no choice but to fire at two of his attackers,” he said.
SAC Ayub said the FRU was summoned to the ceramah after the organisers who invited PKR secretary-general Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim to speak at the gathering failed to turn up to discuss the issue of obtaining a permit.
It was learnt that the venue was not suitable for a ceramah as it was a tourist area and the road leading to the venue was often congested while top government officials also stay there.
Police had suggested to the organiser to hold the ceramah at Rusila but no one turned up to discuss the matter. The ceramah was supported by PAS, PKR and DAP.