The government says it is taking a tough stand against street demonstrations because it fears they could lead to violence, but opposition parties say the government is merely using this fear as a pretext to clamp down on free speech and popular dissent. [Malaysian police halt human-rights day march. Reuters. December 9 2007]
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia: Malaysian police detained 21 opposition members, lawyers and activists Sunday, including nine people who joined a banned human rights march, officials said, in a widening crackdown following a series of anti-government protests.
Twelve members of an opposition coalition were among those rounded up in nationwide raids for taking part in a banned rally on Nov. 10 demanding electoral reforms, coalition spokesman Syed Azman Syed Ahmad told The Associated Press. The coalition plans to hold a second demonstration on Tuesday outside Parliament.
The arrests are part of a growing crackdown on disgruntled Malaysians who have held a slew of anti-government protests and demonstrations, jolting the administration of Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi ahead of elections expected soon. [Malaysian police detain 21 people for illegal rallies. IHT. December 9 2007]
The crackdown on those that exercised liberty by the current administration occurs as the Human Rights Day approaches. Ironically, as highlighted by myAsylum, Malaysia sits on the United Nations Human Rights Council.