Group urges action after ‘thugs’ attack women in KL event

WAO says its members were attacked after an event in Kuala Lumpur to mark Women’s Day.

PETALING JAYA: A women’s rights group said their members were attacked by several men after a peaceful march in Kuala Lumpur yesterday to mark International Women’s Day.

Women’s Aid Organisation (WAO) said four men had chased their staff and volunteers at Jalan Dang Wangi in the city centre, before snatching away placards and destroying them.

“We condemn this cowardly thuggery,” WAO spokesman Ren Chung said in a statement.

A man in a Facebook video defending his men's action to take away placards from participants of the Women's Day event in KL.
A man in a Facebook video defending his men’s action to take away placards from participants of the Women’s Day event in KL.

“Women’s democratic and constitutional rights must not be diminished by gender-based harassment and intimidation.”

He added that a police report was lodged, and urged authorities to take immediate action against the assailants.

“Our staff and volunteers work tirelessly everyday to support domestic violence survivors and advocate for gender equality. When confronted with aggression, they reacted calmly and peacefully.”

Meanwhile, a video of WAO’s event near the Sogo shopping complex was posted on Facebook early today, accompanied with a message accusing participants of promoting “deviant ideology” and attempting to destroy “the family institution in Malaysia”.

A statement by one Baha Taha, who described himself as a “technocrat committed as an UMNOan and as Malaysian”, said his group had lodged a police report against organisers of the event, and admitted taking away placards from participants “as proof that AWAS [sic] dan Bersih are in clear violation of the Peaceful Assembly Act”.