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Malaysia: More Arrested Before Planned Rally

Categories: East Asia, Malaysia, Elections, Freedom of Speech, Human Rights, Politics, Protest

More people have now been arrested for supporting the Bersih 2.0 rally [1] that is planned for the 9 July, 2011.

An East Malaysian opposition leader, Christina Liew, posted on her blog [2] that seven people were arrested for wearing Bersih yellow T-shirts and even normal clothing. According to her:

7 Pakatan Rakyat youth having breakfast at a Kedai Kopi in Asia City, 60 to 70 police came and arrested them. Out of 7, 3 wore yellow sport t shirt, 1 wore bersih tee shirt, remaining 3 wore normal shirt (baju biasa)

There was also a video [3] that Liew posted on her blog, where she talked about the arrest of the people:

In an update, she said that they have been released on condition that they will have to report to the police on the 9 July.

Online news website Malaysiakini also carried reports [4] of arrests of state assemblymen, and also reported that as of the 1 July, 121 people have been arrested. It also reported [5] that the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) have instructed television and radio stations to ‘demonise’ the rally.

Furthermore, leading English daily The Star reported [6] that the MCMC has stated that it will shut down any websites that ‘promote or help in organising the July 9 rally’.

As of July 3, another six people were arrested according to Malaysiakini [7].

A video has also surfaced on YouTube that is becoming more and more popular, that filmed the arrest of the first 14 people [8] arrested which was cited in the previous Global Voices report [1]:

There is also a video claiming to be Bersih's theme song [9], using footage from the 2007 Bersih rally to Maher Zain's Freedom:

The Bersih Twitter account [10] has been very active, and has almost 5,000 followers. Among some of the tweets involving Bersih 2.0 are:

@40square [11]: In a real democracy peaceful marches are allowed

@winnielwn: [12] @bersih2 is about FAIR and CLEAN election. What the heck has made u to arrest so many ppl?

@jakangboo: [13] #Bersih is not about BN vs PR; malay vs non-malay. We, the citizen of Malaysia just want free, fair n transparent govmt.

@mariachin: [14] Dark day for justice. Najib dashed all hopes of his 1 Malaysia Transformation programme by declaring Bersih 2.0 illegal

The Prime Minister’s Twitter [15] account has no mention of the incident. On Facebook, the Bersih 2.0 page [16]has gained nearly 40,000 ‘Likes’.

There is also a news report [17] announcing that Amnesty International has called for the government to allow the rally to continue.

Thumbnail image shows man holding his Bersih T-shirt at the last rally in November 2007. Photo by Flickr user wormy lau [18] (CC BY-NC 2.0).