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Very stressful, hasn't it been in today's march against the ISA? Stressful for both the government and the protestors. However, the organizers of the protest have assessed today's anti-ISA staged rallies as a success, and they are right. They have successfully captured the nation's and international attention that the Malaysian people are against the government's misuse of the ISA. And the ar$eluck for the governmet is that this would be the general impression even if only 25% of the people supported the anti-ISA movement. Worse, the attempted police suppression of the protesors has only martyr-ised each and every one of the participants ... exactly the outcome the Pakatan leaders would have wanted. The government might have wished the protest rallies hadn't ocurred but alas, it did. In my opinion, the ministers (PM, Home and Information) handled the protests abysmally.

So why has the government chosen the option that could only aggravate and magnify the public dramas and political consequences of the anti-ISA rallies, unwittingly lending the Pakatan-led protestors far greater attention than would have been the case if there was no police/FRU interference. Sometimes I wonder how stupid the relevant ministers had been to adopt such a counter-productive (for them) tactic - but more often that that, I wonder whether the Police had sinisterly, sinuously and successfully sold those dumbos the hardline approach ... obviously to enhance their own (police) importance and to suck the (so-called) political masters (or more likely, pundee morons) into total dependence on the men in blue.

A total of 438 people were arrested as part of a massive police crackdown on an anti-Internal Security Act rally today in the city centre. Kuala Lumpur police chief Mohd Sabtu Osman told Malaysiakini that 435 of those detained were Malay, while 37 were women. He also revealed 38 were juveniles, who are below the aged of 18. According to him, the arrests, which began as early as 7am today, were made under section 105 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC) “to prevent illegal acts” from taking place. Most of them have been taken to Cheras police district for questioning where lawyers were said to have been barred from meeting the detainees.

The Kuala Krai PAS MP, Dr.Hatta Ramli had emerged from the mosque after prayers to address about 2,000 protesters gathered outside. Hatta said he was about to deliver a short speech before asking supporters to proceed towards the Sogo shopping complex when police moved into the crowd and forcibly dragged him to the ground from behind. "I almost lost my balance and fell over on the supporters," he said. In the melee, Hatta's collared T-shirt was ripped, exposing his torso. "We were taken aback because they came from behind and there was no warning whatsoever (for us to disperse)," said Hatta, who was not arrested. "But this is just part of our struggle, we managed to proceed to Sogo," he added.


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