Malaysia

City Hall detains four activists, seizes tents

By Shazwan Mustafa Kamal
April 24, 2012
Latest Update: April 24, 2012 11:39 pm

City Hall fences now occupy Dataran Merdeka. — Pictures by Choo Choy MayCity Hall fences now occupy Dataran Merdeka. — Pictures by Choo Choy MayKUALA LUMPUR, April 24 — Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) has detained four pro-Occupy Dataran activists, hours after chasing the movement away from Dataran Merdeka.

DBKL officers had earlier this morning seized tents and camping equipment belonging to the activists, and put up steel barricades to stop them from camping here.

But activists are now claiming that DBKL officers had physically manhandled four activists moments ago before detaining them and sending them to the Dang Wangi police station.

It is understood the four had attempted to block DBKL officers as they were carting camping equipment belonging to Occupy Dataran into their trucks.

“They were pinned to the floor, physically mishandled... One of the students got kicked.

A City Hall official with walkie-talkie stands guard at Dataran Merdeka to prevent activists from returning to the landmark square.A City Hall official with walkie-talkie stands guard at Dataran Merdeka to prevent activists from returning to the landmark square.“There were 30 or 40 DBKL officers, they did all this, no police presence,” Khalid Ismath from Solidariti Mahasiswa Malaysia (SMM) told The Malaysian Insider.

Two days ago, DBKL officers along with the police seized camping equipment and tents and arrested two activists. One of them was charged in court yesterday with obstructing a public officer in the execution of his duty.

Fahmi Reza, one of the two who were arrested, said today that DBKL did not give any indication or warning that its officers were going to detain anyone.

“Two of the detained are students, and the other two are civilians who support Occupy Dataran's cause,” he told The Malaysian Insider.

The four are Ekhsan Bukharee, Muhammad Ali Hafiz Zainuddin, Saiful Buhari Ramli and Karim.

Occupy Dataran’s stated aim is to reclaim public spaces for the purpose of promoting participatory democracy.

The campsite was also shared by student activists demanding the elimination of the National Higher Education Fund Corporation (PTPTN) loan scheme, but they had suspended all activities and vacated the area to make way for a royal concert.

City Hall officers taking the pro-Occupy Dataran activists into custody on April 24, 2012, hours after chasing the movement away from Dataran Merdeka. City Hall officers taking the pro-Occupy Dataran activists into custody on April 24, 2012, hours after chasing the movement away from Dataran Merdeka.