More than 70 people who had taken part in Hindraf's nationwide march against Umno had been arrested by the police for illegal assembly.
FMT learnt that more than 70 Hindraf supporters had been arrested, including nine women and four schoolchildren.
The march – in the form of car convoys – started today in various states, each convoy ending in another destination in the respective states.
In Kuala Lumpur, the car convoy started at Brickfields this afternoon while in Selangor, it kicked off at Rawang at 9.30am. Similar convoys left their destinations in Johor, Negeri Sembilan, Perak, Kedah and Penang.
The police however were quick to swoop in the arrest those participating in these convoys, claiming that these people were taking part in illegal assembly. Some were arrested for obstructing the police from carrying out their duties.
The first group to be arrested were those involved in Perak. About six Hindraf members were arrested in Jelapang after leaving Buntong.
At about the same time, the Selangor police arrested about five Hindraf members, including Human Rights Party’s information chief S Jayathas at Rawang. They were taken to the Gombak police station for questioning.
Several other members of the Selangor convoy were also diverted to the Gombak police station. The remaining cars in the convoy had made their way to the Batu Caves temple where the Hindraf members are distributing leaflets for a massive rally planned at the KLCC on Feb 27.
In Brickfields, Kuala Lumpur, the police arrested about 20 Hindraf supporters and had taken them to the Jalan Travers police station while 15 others were arrested in Seremban. Some Hindraf supporters were also arrested from the HRP headquarters in Bangsar.
In both Kedah and Johor, the car convoys were tailed by the police but so far no arrests have been made in these two states.
Feb 27 rally will proceed
HRP’s pro tem secretary general P Uthayakumar when contacted said: “Our lawyers have gone to the various police stations to bail out our supporters.”
He also said that the rally scheduled for the Feb 27 will proceed as planned.
“Our rally against Umno’s racism and the anti-Interlok rally will take take place as planned,” he said.
Uthayakumar also slammed the police over their double standards in not arresting any Malay nationalist movement Perkasa members who had protested against Hindraf in Seremban today.
In Perak, among those arrested included the state HRP chief P Ramesh. His group was arrested following a cat-and-mouse game between the Hindraf members and the police.
He said the police told them that they were being arrested for moving in a convoy without a police permit. They were however released with a police bail of RM5,000 each.
After being released, Ramesh’s group lodged police reports against Education Minister Muhyiddin Yassin over the controversial school literature book Interlok.
Safety and security reasons
Meanwhile in a Bernama report, the Negeri Sembilan police today confirmed that they had detained 26 Hindraf members, including six women and four children, who were involved in an illegal convoy of 16 cars in Seremban today.
Seremban police chief ACP Saiful Azly Kamaruddin said police had received information that an illegal convoy cars would be passing through the town today.
“Police started monitoring their activities from 1.35pm and detained the members when they reached the Jalan Zaaba traffic light near the Rahang police station at 2.15pm,” he told reporters here today.
He said police had initially spoken to the head of the convoy, R Sivakumar, 44, and told him that the convoy needed a permit and that it was illegal to carry on without a permit.
“However, our advise was not heeded but instead they continued and shouted ‘Hidup Hindraf’ in Tamil. We had no choice but to detain them due to safety and security reasons. They were also wearing T-shirts of the movement that has been deemed illegal by the government.
“We also detained 16 cars that displayed stickers “Say no to Interlok. They will be detained for further investigations,” he said.
Later tonight, the police confirmed that they have detained 59 Hindraf and HRP members in Negeri Sembilan, Perak, Selangor and Kuala Lumpur for staging illegal protests against ‘Interlok’.
A Bukit Aman spokesman said among those detained were 21 from Kuala Lumpur, five in Selangor, six in Perak and 26 in Negeri Sembilan.
“Similar protest convoys were also held in Kedah but no arrests were made. As of 7pm, police have only detained members in four states,” he told Bernama.
Gombak police chief ACP Abdul Rahim Abdullah also said that Jayathas was arrested for for behaving aggressively against the police.
[Photos from HRP website. For further details visit the website]