Police Detain Participants of Peaceful Candlelight Vigil at Dataran Merdeka

Late last night, 31 participants at a peaceful in memory of those who have passed due to COVID-19 at Dataran Merdeka were detained by the police and brought to Dang Wangi Police Station. 

According to The Vibes, the participants were neither told if they were being arrested nor the reason for detention. Shocking video footage shows the participants being hauled and dragged by police personnel towards a Black Maria without being read their rights. Viewer discretion is advised. 

It is understood that once news of the detention broke, people started gathering at the police station in solidarity. Some were spotted carrying banners with words such as “Kerajaan Gagal” and “Lawan”. 

Image credit: The Vibes (Twitter) 

There was also a brief moment of outrage as lawyers were purportedly barred from entering the station to represent their clients. This was later denied by police chief Datuk Azmi Abu Kassim. 

As lawmakers such as Petaling Jaya MP, Maria Chin Abdullah, and Kampung Tunku Assemblyman Lim Wei Yi arrived at the scene, IGP Datuk Seri Acryl Sani clarified that the participants were simply brought in for documentation and would not be arrested. 

Image credit: Hakam Youth

Several prominent political figures, including MPs from the Opposition, have taken to social media to voice their concern about the incident. Among them was Opposition Leader, Anwar Ibrahim who called for the freedom of assembly to be respected and for the participants to be released immediately. 

Muar MP, Syed Saddiq, often seen as the voice of Malaysian Youths also voiced his concern, calling the rough treatment of the participants “unnecessary.” His sentiment was echoed by Dr. Thanussha, co-founder and vice president of Parti MUDA, of which Saddiq is the president. 

As tensions reached breaking point, all 31 participants were later released at around 1am to the cheers of the crowd gathered in front of the police station. As reported by several media outlets, the participants were issued compounds of RM2,000 each for violating the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act.

As Malaysia continues to hold its breath in the midst of political uncertainty and a raging battle against COVID-19, let us all hope and pray for a better Malaysia soon. 

By Darren

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