Police arrest 589 supporters in ISA street demo

(The Star) KUALA LUMPUR: Police arrested almost 600 people in connection with the demonstrations held in the city yesterday.

“A total of 589 people were arrested as at 11.45pm, including Subang MP R. Sivarasa, who was picked up at Sogo at 3pm.

“Those arrested, including 40 women and 44 underaged persons, were picked up at the three major locations where the demonstrations were held,” said City police chief Deputy Comm Datuk Wira Mohd Sabtu Osman.

He said police had identified 11 people believed to have instigated the demonstrations, including Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, DAP adviser Lim Kit Siang, Batu MP Tian Chua, PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang, PAS secretary-general Datuk Mustafa Ali and Gerakan Mansuhkan ISA (GMI) chairman Syed Ibrahim Syed Noh.

“They will be called in to record their statements,” he added.

He said well-organised traffic operations and police roadblocks prevented protesters from two groups — one against the Internal Security Act and the other for it — from staging planned marches through the city.

Supporters of both groups were contained at the Sogo shopping complex, National Mosque and Masjid Jamek LRT station areas, and had to abort their pre-planned march towards Istana Negara to hand over memorandums.

“Even though adequate warnings were issued, about 5,000 demonstrators ignored them and took part in the illegal gatherings from 7am.

“They failed to obey police orders to disperse and continued to cause a commotion,” he said, adding that those arrested would be investigated under the Societies Act and Police Act.

DCP Mohd Sabtu stressed that police would continue to conduct roadblocks and traffic operations today to ensure the situation remained under control.

He also apologised to the public for yesterday’s massive traffic congestion but stressed that it was not the fault of the police.