Sunday 26 June 2011

Bersih crackdown: 59 PSM members arrested

A bus carrying about 31 Parti Sosialist Rakyat Malaysia members headed for Penang tonight was halted by police at the Sungai Dua toll plaza today.

Meanwhile, another bus with 28 PSM members was stopped at Tangkak, Johor this afternoon, including party secretary-general A Arutchelven. 

Acccording to PSM central committee member Choo Chon Kai, about 30 police personnel stopped the bus in Sungai Dua at about 3.34pm.

Choo said the bus from Sungai Petani was headed to Penang for a ceramah dubbed 'Udahlah tu, bersaralah BN' tonight in Bayan Baru.

The group was later brought to the Kepala Batas police headquarters for questioning.

"We were told that the reason our bus was stopped was because we were trying to instigate people to participate in the Bersih 2.0 rally in Kuala Lumpur on July 9.

Those detained together with Choo include Sungai Siput MP D Jeyakumar, and the group was escorted by two police cars from the Seberang Utara District to Kepala Batas.

Police said the group comprised of 14 women and 17 men.

"They were brought to the Seberang Perai Utara (SPU) police station here where statements were recorded from them," Bernama quoted a police officer.

He said police also found activist material in the bus which included PSM flags, news bulletins and T-shirts with "inflammatory slogans" and "flyers on the illegal demonstrations".

According to the police officer, they were detained on suspicion of attempting to distribute the flyers.

At 11pm, all the activists were still being questioned at the police station. They were probed under Sedition Act and could be remanded until Monday.

Meanwhile, Penang deputy police chief Abdul Rahim Jaafar declined to comment on the matter and said a press conference would be called tomorrow. 

In Johor, those arrested were brought to Ledang district police headquarters. At 4am, all 28 were released on police bail. It is believed that they were investigated under Sedition Act and Printing Presses and Publications Act.

Police has begun their crackdown on Bersih activists and groups promoting or mobilising others to join the mammoth gathering next month.

10 arrested yesterday 

A Bersih roadshow in Shah Alam last night was interrupted by police where one was arrested, and another in Kluang Johor, where seven PSM activists were nabbed.

They were detained for distributing leaflets on the gathering which aims to promote a free and fair election, and organisers plan to submit an 18-point memorandum to the king.

Leaders from six NGOs and political parties that are part of the polls watchdog coalition were summoned have been the police for questioning on Monday.

The six are Bersih 2.0 chief Ambiga Sreenevasan, steering committee member Maria Chin Abdullah, Selangor senior exco Teresa Kok, social activist Hishamuddin Rais, Lawyers for Liberty cordinator Fadiah Nadwa Fikri and Party Socialist Malaysia secretary-general S Arutchelvan.

Bersih organisers are firm that despite the clampdown, about nine roadshows scheduled across the country in the lead-up to the July 9 rally will go ahead as planned.

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