Sunday, January 8, 2012

Police warn protesters against stepping out of line

The Sunday Star

KUALA LUMPUR: Organisers of tomorrow's Free Anwar 901 rally must ensure that none of their supporters gather outside the designated area or police will be forced to disperse them, Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Ismail Omar said.

“I wish to stress that the approval for the rally outside the court house is not a blanket approval for people to gather anywhere else in the city or the country,” he said.

He said the designated parking area outside the court complex could accommodate about 5,000 people and no more than that.

Otherwise, it would lead to traffic congestion and inconvenience others, he said.
At a briefing for chief editors at Bukit Aman yesterday, Ismail said the reason the gathering was allowed was to show that police were willing to transform in line with the Peaceful Assembly Act.

He said 740 police reports had been lodged against the rally organisers.

Ismail also said he had to bear the consequences of his action in approving the rally but he felt Malaysians were mature and responsible for their actions.

Meanwhile, motorists are warned to be wary of an expected crawl in several parts of the city tomorrow, in light of the planned gathering at the Duta Court Complex.

The police have forecast traffic jams from as early as 7am in eight areas leading to the complex, namely Jalan Duta, Jalan Kuching, Bulatan Segambut, Jalan Khidmat Usaha, Jalan Ibadah, Jalan Dutamas, Jalan Persiaran Dutamas and Jalan Hikmat Usaha.

In MUAR, Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said although many parties had lodged police reports protesting against the rally, the Government decided to allow it.

“The Government has to give room to those who want to organise such a rally but they must ensure it will be a peaceful one,” he said after attending a dialogue with imams in Pagoh yesterday.

Meanwhile, former Bar Council member Roger Tan said a person's right to peaceful gathering is guaranteed under the Federal Constitution.

“We can always have the ordinary right to criticise the court but this act (gathering 100,000 supporters) to gather will subject the judiciary to great pressure,” said the lawyer, who is also a columnist for The Star.

The gathering, he said, may cause the verdict to be postponed and its organisers held for contempt of court.

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