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DBKL locks down Dataran Merdeka

 | April 27, 2012

The officers have cordoned off the entire area after evicting Occupy Dataran activists and students.

UPDATED

KUALA LUMPUR: Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) has effectively “occupied” the entire Dataran Merdeka area after forcing out Occupy Dataran activists and students in a pre-dawn raid.

The move was taken to prevent the Bersih 3.0 “sit-in’ rally scheduled to be held at 2pm tomorrow.

Dataran Merdeka is expected to be off-limits from 6am today until 6am Sunday.

Speaking to the press this morning, Occupy Dataran activist Temme Lee said the DBKL officers launched their “attack” at about 4am.

“The came and evicted us. We didn’t resist. They used a DBKL by-law that stipulates that Dataran Merdeka is off-limits from 1am to 6am to justify their action,” she said.

This is the third DBKL raid.

The first was on Sunday when activists Fahmi Reza and Umar Aziz were hauled up.

On Tuesday, four anti-PTPTN students were detained by the police and subsequently with obstructing DBKL officers from carrying out their duties.

The students want the PTPTN (National Higher Education Fund Corporation) loan scheme abolished and are also demanding free education.

‘Let’s reclaim the field’

During a press conference held opposite Dataran Merdeka later, Occupy Dataran activist Fahmi urged the public to join hands in an effort to reclaim the historic field.

“Come here with your tents at 8.30pm tonight to re-occupy our public space,” he said.

He also criticised KL Mayor Ahmad Fuad Ismail and the DBKL for their high-handed pre-dawn action.

“The mayor and DBKL have taken away our right to freedom of expression and our right to freedom of speech. The mayor as an unelected public official doesn’t respect our right as members of the public,” he said.

He added that for the past 13 days, Occupy Dataran had succeeded in engaging with different people through democratic means.

“It has been a peaceful encampment for the past 13 days. Why evict us when we have created a new space for democracy?” Fahmi asked.


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