Police halt March 8 anniversary rally

Police stopped a Pakatan Rakyat rally in Kampung Baru, Kuala Lumpur that was to commemorate the second anniversary of the March 8, 2008 general election.

Selangor Menteri Besar Abdul Khalid Ibrahim and Gombak MP Mohd Azmin Ali had just given their speeches when a team of police officers from the Kuala Lumpur contingency headquarters arrived at about 9.45pm.

The police sought to persuade the organisers of ‘Majlis Ulang Tahun Pakatan Rakyat’ (Celebration of the Second Anniversary of Pakatan Rakyat’s Victory) at the Sultan Sulaiman Club to stop the event.

At least four more speakers were scheduled to speak, including DAP secretary-general and Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng.

The crowd of 1,300 “booed” and heckled them, however, and refused to allow the police officers to reach the stage.

Consequently, a group of about 20 Federal Reserve Unit personnel arrived, and proceeded to the stage by force.

They soon took over the platform, while other police personnel – uniformed and plainclothed – pushed Pakatan leaders into the building.

The whole time, the air reverberated with shouts of “reformasi!”. It is not known how many, if any, people have been arrested.

At least three people are said to have been injured by police, who had hit them with their sticks.

Two FRU trucks fitted with water cannons at about 10:15 and parked nearby.

Crowd told to move indoor

PKR’s Batu MP Tian Chua came out a few minutes later to inform the crowd that the police deem the gathering to be illegal as it was held on the open field and thus “disturbing the peace”.

As a solution, therefore, the people are invited to come into the club house to continue hearing the ceramah speakers, said Chua.

PAS leader Mahfuz Omar, Lim Lip Eng of DAP, and Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim have been slated to address the crowd.

Police officers are still discussing with the organisers inside the club while FRU personnel stand guard at the entrance.

At about 10.30pm, some police personnel were seen to be leaving the premises.

Many, however, remained to ensure that nobody gathers on the field.

Most of the crowd are cramming into the Sultan Sulaiman clubhouse to hear the rest of the speeches. Mkini

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