Malaysia

Cops seize Ambiga, Pakatan leaders mid-march

KUALA LUMPUR, July 9 — Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan was arrested by police as she and several Pakatan Rakyat (PR) leaders attempted to march towards Stadium Merdeka from the Kuala Lumpur Hilton this afternoon.

Police earlier also fired tear gas at the group as they tried to force their way past a police barricade.

Scores of PR and Bersih activists have now been arrested, including PAS president Datuk Seri Hadi Awang and committee member Dzulkefly Ahmad. They join PAS deputy president Mohamad Sabu and two other vice presidents arrested earlier.

However, it is understood Dzulkefly was released in the confusion ensuing the arrests.

Others detained were PKR’s Chua Tian Chang, Bersih steering committee member Maria Chin Abdulla, and Nurul Iman Anwar, a daughter to Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

Shielded by scores of supporters, all linking arms, the movement fighting for electoral reform earlier left the KL Hilton hotel about 2pm today and made their way down three flights of stairs and headed towards KL Sentral across the road.

The group, shouting “Hidup rakyat!” and “Bersih! Bersih! Bersih!” interspersed with PAS’s Islamic battlecry “Allahu Akhbar!” and “Takbir!”, pushed past a barricade of police personnel who formed three lines to block the station’s sole entrance fronting the hotel.

Shopkeepers in the transportation hub quickly moved to shutter their businesses as the massive wave surged towards them. But drawn by the noise, scores of curious onlookers moved forward.

At the Bangsar LRT station, a policeman on duty told would-be passengers that the KL Sentral LRT stop is now closed and no one will be allowed to embark or disembark there.

Earlier, at Anwar’s suite at the Hilton, Ambiga told reporters Bersih 2.0 had already achieved more than its initial goal.

“We are [now] raising awareness in the public not only of electoral reform but the abuse of power... it’s now up to them to give [us] a democracy that really works,” she said.

Then, she predicted accurately that she will be arrested by the police waiting outside the hotel but would continue the walk to join up with thousands more demonstrators already assembled at Stadium Merdeka.

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