29 arrested for taking part in illegal rally

NST – By Fadhal Ab Ghani, V. Shuman, V. Vasudevan, Eileen Ng and Evangeline Majawat
12 December, 2007
KUALA LUMPUR: Police arrested 29 members of the Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (Bersih) and opposition parties for defying a court order and taking part in an illegal assembly yesterday. Most of the arrests were made outside and in the compound of the Parliament House. Of the 29, 12 have been released unconditionally and the rest on police bail.

First to be nabbed was Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) information chief Tian Chua, who had, less than 24 hours earlier, been charged at the Sessions Court with taking part in an illegal assembly and released on a RM5,000 bail.
Sessions Court judge Rozana Ali Yusoff had also warned him not to take part in yesterday’s rally.
But at 10.35am yesterday, Tian Chua was the passenger in a green Proton Tiara that drove through the first police roadblock but was stopped some 10 metres from the Parliament House gates.
Tian Chua refused to get out of the vehicle and had to be dragged out by policemen. In the melee, he allegedly bit a plainclothes policeman.
By noon, 10 others, including PKR secretary-general Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim, were picked up at the same spot.
Khalid was holding an impromptu press conference when police stepped in and ordered him to leave the area. He refused and was arrested.
Minutes later, five others were nabbed on Parliament grounds.
They were former Dungun MP Mustafa Ali, Suaram executive director Yap Swee Seng, Wong Chin Huat from Writers Alliance of Media Independence, Mein Lor of Pusat Kommunikasi Masyarakat and Centre for Independent Journalism executive director V. Gayathry.
Earlier, Pas think-tank head Dr Zulkifli Ahmad was picked up outside the gates of Parliament House.
About 200 Bersih members then marched from Dataran Merdeka towards Jalan Parlimen but were stopped by the police, who showed them a court order barring them from gathering.
The group then proceeded to the city police headquarters in Jalan Hang Tuah where those arrested were taken.
They ignored an order to disperse from the city police public order and internal security division head ACP K. Kumaran.
The group dispersed about 2.20pm after Pas Kubang Kerian MP Salahuddin Ayub assured them that he would see to it that the detainees were released.