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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Thugs attack students at Dataran, beating up even girls: Was it you, Umno?


Thugs attack students at Dataran, beating up even girls: Was it you, Umno?
VIDEO A mob of at least 40 thugs attacked a group of students camping at the Dataran Merdeka or Independence Square in Kuala Lumpur, destroying equipment and beating up even the girls sleeping in their tents.
The incident happened around 3am and the police were slammed for not doing enough to stop the violence.
"The video shows the police were not ready. They failed to control the situation and the wild behavior of the gangsters," political activist Fahmi Fadzil wrote on his Twitter.
It is unclear who had hired thugs or set them onto the students, but the finger of suspicion points at Prime Minister Najib Razak's Umno party which has repeatedly criticized the students for protesting at the Dataran.
Last year, Umno Youth sent a gang of bikers or Mat Rempits to circle around and threaten to set fire to the Parti Keadilan Rakyat headquarters in Petaling Jaya. This was just one of the many examples where the ruling Umno-BN coalition has been accused of resorting to violence and scare tactics to subdue political rivals and ordinary citizens from demanding great social and democratic rights.
Rough police action against MansuhPTPTN group
The protest at Dataran Merdeka began last weekend, with some 500 students protesting the PTPTN - a study loans program - and demanding free higher education. They were roughly treated by the police, who dismantled their tents.
The high-handed police action spurred the students into prolonging their protest and camping out on the ground, drawing further support from other youth groups, civil society and activists.
It led to the formation of another group called OccupyDataran, an offshoot of the Occupy Wall St movement.
Activists and students joined the camp-in. "We are occupying Dataran Merdeka to reclaim our democratic space. Come and reclaim it together with us," the organizers had said on their Twitter.
"Don't confuse or combine different messages of #OccupyDataran & #mansuhptptn although both are using same citizen direct action," said human rights lawyer Edmund Bon.
OccupyDataran
Then came the attack. Different eyewitness accounts have put different numbers on the size of the gang. But the video footage is clear(scroll below). The thugs were violent and intent on scaring the students from the field.
"There were 60-70 thugs attacked our camp at Dataran Merdeka at about 245am this morning. Those with cameras and recording devices were ambushed and attacked. One person has been sent to the hospital with an ambulance," the OccupyDataran organizers said in an email sent to Malaysia Chronicle.
However, the violence does not appear to have frightened the students. Instead they seem galvanized to dig in.
"Sila turun untuk mempertahankan khemah kita bersama-sama, dari samseng2 yg berkemungkinan besar akan datang sekali lagi."#occupydataran
"Let's protect the encampment @ Dataran Merdeka together. We will not bow down 2 violence!Dataran Merdeka belong to the people."#occupydataran
"I guess now, more will join them #OccupyDataran... The attack was plain dumb, but what do u expect from, plain dumb samsengs," was the comment from another activist on Twitter.
On the spot reports from the students via Twitter
Malaysia Chronicle appends below the various tweets sent by the students on the spot as the attack began :
Was violently ambushed by a group 50 ppl. Hitting ppl, breaking stuff. They snatched my camera & shoved me#occupydataran
20-30 thugs are surrounding the encampment. There kick things,ambush people, they kick and shout at anyone w camera.#occupydataran
There are a lot of things being destroyed by them, esp. recording devices. #occupydataran
The police just stood there and did nothing. #occupydataran
Even girls were not spared from being beaten. Some ppl were sleeping in tents & they kicked while ppl were in it #occupydataran
We rounding up ppl, do a head count of how many ppl who were attacked. #occupydataran
Other ppl were sitting down were attacked when they looked at the thugs #occupydataran
Eyewitness said that ard 1-2 were taken to the police station. But this is unconfirmed #occupydataran
All the damaged tents & stuff are put in the middle where ppl sit ard it to share stories. #occupydataran
One guy was sent to the hospital by ambulance #occupydataran
There were 60-70 thugs jz now! #occupydataran
One girl who were inside the tent said that, the thugs shook the tent, kicked her repeated and pulled her out fr the tent #occupydataran
Someone heard that the thug said "Becareful, we are coming later for a second round" #occupydataran
The guy who was taken 2 the hospital were beaten up by 4-5 ppl near to a police car. Police did nothing. He had a camera.#occupydataran
@harrisnasril hard to take pics cos those with camera were attacked. ppl who are seen recording it were also attacked
People, we NEED you to come down to help to protect our stuff.Most of the recordings are here.We are expecting a second und#occupydataran
We are staying put here. Will guard our tents and stuff. We are expecting a second round of attack. We need your support!#occupydataran
Malaysia Chronicle

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