Malaysia: international protest action urgently needed

Malaysian state in tune with US aggression

Two reports of a brutal police attack against peaceful protesters in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on Sunday, 20 March. The first is a statement from the Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) (Malaysian Socialist Party), followed by a report from the AFP news agency. Finally, Ravie, a Malaysian socialist activist, gives details of where to send urgent protests against the brutal police attack. socialistworld.net

Chemical laced treatment for anti-war demonstrators

Around one thousand demonstrators peacefully protesting as part of the global protest against US occupation in Iraq were attacked with chemical laced water from a water canon in front of the US Embassy on 20 March. The attack of the peaceful demonstration was done without any provocation and among the victims were young children and elderly people. 

Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) Chairperson, Comrade Nasir Hashim, condemned the unprofessional manner of the police and said that the Malaysian state acted with similar aggression like their US counterparts in Iraq. S.Arutchelvan (Arul), the party’s Secretary General said, "I have never seen a more stupider Police chief before". He was referring to the Cheras OCPD, ACP Mohamad Noor Masdar, who refused to negotiate, refused to understand the situation and acted like a thug possessed.

The anti-war rally at Kuala Lumpur was part of the Global Protest in conjunction with the second anniversary of the attack on Iraq. Around a thousand protesters participated in the protest in spite of a thick haze in Kuala Lumpur, as well as the F1 (Formula One) taking place in Sepang. The protest was held in front of the US Embassy. Protesters carried placards and banners and stood on the road platform so as not to obstruct traffic flow along the road. Protesters also shouted anti-US slogans, called for peace and distributed leaflets. There were also sketches, music and songs.

Among the many banners displayed were, "Don’t Kill Innocent People", "Stop the Imperialist War", "Get out Of Iraq", "War – a capitalist trademark" and "No more blood for oil". The protest was called by the Coalition Against War Malaysia which is a coalition led my several groups, including political parties, student groups and NGOs. PSM played a key role in mobilising its people for the protest along with other groups – JERIT (‘Shout’ – a youth organisation), PKR (Justice Party), PAS (Islamic Party), DEMA (Malaysian Youth and Student Democratic Movement), FNB (Food Not Bombs), and NGOs such as SUARAM (Voice of Malaysians, a human rights organisation) and LRC (Labour Resources Centre). 

About ten minutes after the peaceful rally started, the OCPD (Officer in Charge of Police District) of Cheras, ACP (Assistant Commissioner of Police) Mohamad Noor barked at the organisers and said that if in 15 minutes the people did not disperse, then he would disperse the crowd using the riot police (FRU). After twenty minutes, another officer who was in charge of Public Order and Internal Security, approached Dr. Nasir Hashim and later held negotiations with S.Arutchelvan and V.Selvam. He agreed to allow the organisers to continue till 11.30am and the organisers said they would read a declaration and then disperse at 11.30am. The parties shook hands and everything looked fine. The officer said that he has got the instruction from his OCPD. At around 11.15am, suddenly the FRU trucks moved into the main road. The officer who negotiated with the organiser panicked and said that the instruction came from the other OCPD, the crazy Mohamad Noor.

A last minute attempt by Comrade V.Selvam and Arul to talk to Mohamad Noor only resulted in Mohamad Noor threatening to arrest them. Arul then in a last attempt tried to disperse the crowd but he along with the others was treated to chemical laced water. The chemical caused a lot of children and elderly people to suffer. Even with such a barbaric assault by the police, the crowd continued to retreat orderly. The arsenal of policemen police with batons continued to harass and teargas the retreating crowd. A lot of people, including other policemen, were soaked. Some other policemen also called the District Chief "gila" (meaning a mad guy). One of them said, "You know Mat Noor – he is plain crazy"

One portion of the crowd moved into KLCC (Kuala Lumpur City Centre), where the people were briefed on what happened. The anti-US slogan became an anti-state and anti-police slogan. The Malaysian State, which recently welcomed the elections in Iraq, on 20 March, demonstrated its true colours by staying in tune with US aggression. The state controlled media would definitely argue that the assembly was "illegal", as they have done before. 

On 20 March, the Malaysian State stood in solidarity with US and its allies, and demonstrated, in their own way, how to suppress its people and tell the world they care about peace and prosperity! Like the country’s Petronas Twin Towers – a symbol of modern Malaysia – the Malaysia State also has its two faces. The real face of the Malaysian government was exposed!

Police fire teargas to break up anti-war protest

(report from the AFP news agency)

Riot police fired teargas at anti-war protestors in Kuala Lumpur today after they demonstrated outside the US embassy against the US-led invasion of Iraq.

Chanting "Damn George Bush, Damn Tony Blair," some 400 people from the Coalition Against War-Malaysia gathered outside the embassy in the sweltering heat.

Many carried placards that read "Don’t Kill Innocent People", "Stop the Imperialist War", "Get Out Of Iraq" and "No more blood for oil".

Police ordered the crowd to disperse after nearly an hour but protest organisers said teargas was fired at the demonstrators before they were able to move away.

"There were women, children, old people in the crowd. It is a peaceful protest. There was no provocation. Yet they fired water laced with chemicals. They want us to suffer," said S Arutchelvan, one of the rally’s organisers.

"Even when we wanted to disperse, as we were retreating, they shot us (with teargas)," he said.

Mohamad Nasir Hashim, chairman of the opposition Socialist Party of Malaysia, who participated in the march, said: "As far as I am concerned, the police are not professional."

No arrests made

However district police chief Mohamad Noor Masdar told AFP that the demonstration was an "illegal assembly."

"We asked them to disperse but they didn’t," he said, adding no arrests were made.

The protest was held in conjunction with other protests in major cities around the world to mark the second anniversary of the Iraq war on March 19, Arutchelvan said.

"The Coalition Against War-Malaysia condemns the numerous indiscriminate killing of Iraqi civilians carried out by US and British occupying forces," it said in a statement.

"We call for the immediate withdrawal of coalition forces and the dismantling of their military bases in favour of the Iraqi people being left free to build their county’s infrastructure," it said.

"We now call on the US and British government to recognise that the continuing occupation of Iraq is unjustifiable and destructive of both lives and resources and call on President George Bush and Prime Minister Tony Blair to name an early date for the withdrawal of the American and British armed forces."

The government of this mainly-Muslim Southeast Asian nation, hailed by Washington for its support in the war against terrorism, has condemned the war against Iraq.

 

International protest action urgently needed!

Ravie, Malaysian socialist activist

Condemn the inhuman act and brutality of the Malaysian Police Force against peaceful anti-war protesters on 20 March, including the use of teargas and water laced with chemicals against women, children, and elderly people.

Condemn the abuse and disrespect of the right to assemble peacefully by the Malaysian government and its police force.

Call on the Malaysian government (as well Malaysian embassies worldwide) to restore the right to assemble peacefully (which is enshrined in Malaysian Constitution), democracy and human rights in Malaysia.

Please send protests to the following:

1) PRIME MINISTER OF MALAYSIA

Datuk Abdullah Ahmad Badawi

Prime Minister’s Office Malaysia

Perdana Putra Building

Federal Government Administrative Centre

62502 Putrajaya, Selangor

Malaysia

Fax: + 60 3 8888 3444 E-mail: ppm@pmo.gov.my

2) INSPECTOR GENERAL OF POLICE

Inspector General of Police

Tan Sri Mohd Bakri Bin Hj. Omar

Headquarters of Royal Police of Malaysia

Bukit Aman 50560 Kuala Lumpur

Malaysia

Fax: +603 22731326 Email : rmp@rmp.gov.my

(Please also cc. a copy of your protests to the Coalition Against War-Malaysia, at: malaysiaantiwar@gmail.com Fax : 603-87374772 or 603-77843526) and the Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) at psmhq@tm.net.my.

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