Bersih memo: Five top opposition leaders, 10 others arrested

Dec 11, 07 10:59am

Five top opposition leaders were arrested this morning for trying to deliver a Bersih memorandum to Parliament on the extension of Election Commission chief’s retirement age.

Among those arrested are PKR information chief Tian Chua, party secretary-general Khalid Ibrahim, PAS treasurer Dr Hatta Ramli and party committee member Dr Lo’Lo’ Ghazali, and Parti Socialist Malaysia secretary-general S Arutchelvan.
According to eyewitnesses, the police surrounded Tian Chua’s vehicle and forcibly removed him before arresting him at about 10.40am. Another person in the car was also detained.
Chua had failed to stop at the roadblock and insisted on moving forward before the police swooped in on him.
About 10 minutes later, Arutchelvan and another identified person have also been arrested for trying to break the police cordon. The PAS leaders were also arrested shortly after nearby.
At about 12 noon, Khalid arrived at Jalan Parliament where he talked briefly to the press gathered there.
“I don’t think we will be able to submit a memorandum today. Our main piority now is to help those detained,’ he told journalists.
A plainclothes police officer showed the restraining court order which the Sentul police had obtained yesterday and ordered Khalid to leave.
Subsequently Khalid went to his car and while on his way there, Sentul district police chief ACP Ahmad Sofian Md Yassin instructed one of his men to arrest the PKR leader.
Rare restraining order
At the same time, it is also learnt that the police had surrounded opposition party PAS headquarters in Jalan Raja Laut to stop people from leaving the building to Parliament.
According to a statement from the party, five patrol cars and one Federal Reserve Unit had been placed around the PAS building.
The police also pasted a copy of the retraining order at the building to warn people not to participate at the event today.
The police have blocked all roads leading to Parliament to block members of polls reform group Bersih from submitting a protest memorandum against a proposed constitutional amendment.
The authorities have yesterday obtained a rare restraining court order – the second of its kind following a similar order to ban the Nov 25 Hindraf rally – prohibiting four named individuals and other Bersih supporters from attending or taking part in the gathering.
The named persons are PAS leaders Dr Syed Azman Syed Ahmad Nawawi, Mohamad Sabu and Adenaan Saad and Malaysian Trade Union Congress chief Syed Shahir Syed Mohamud.
The order also stipulated that “other interested parties” are also similarly prohibited from taking part in the gathering and will allow the police to ‘arrest on sight’ in the vicinity of the Parliament.