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16 more arrested ! - malaysiakini

Malaysiakini's report:

The ‘Ride for change’ campaign has hit another snag. This morning, 16 activists about to take part in the cycling campaign were arrested at Suaram’s office in Skudai and released after about an hour of questioning.


skudai police stop bicycle campaign 061208 03According to the campaign’s southern region co-ordinator Nyam Kee Han, who was also arrested, some of the cyclists were arrested at 8.30am when around 50 police officers put up a total of eight roadblocks around the office area.

"The first 12 people were arrested at 8.30am, when they were trying to negotiate with the police in front of our office gate so we all could proceed with our plan.

"But as they were trying to negotiate, the police decided to arrest them instead. The remaining four, including myself, who were in the office, were arrested at 9.15am," said Nyam, who was at the Skudai police station when contacted.

skudai police stop bicycle campaign 061208 01Among those arrested were A Sivaragen, 39, V Pannirselvam, 48, D Letchimi, 37, K Simon, 34, P Mohan, 41, Goh Chee Horng, 24, E Nalini, 26, K Bawani, 23, A Yesudas, 41, Salleh Alian, 46, Ahmad Naqib, 13, and Parti Sosialis Malaysia’s S Aruchelvan, 41.

The rest were Nyam, 25, Ngo Jian Yee, 29, Ang Pei Shan, 27 and Chuah Seong Ping, 28.

According to Nalini, who is also Suaram co-ordinator, the police arrested the group for illegal assembly.

"But I argued that it was not an illegal assembly as we were all just trying to cycle. But the police said that they received specific instructions to arrest us," said Nalini.

Rocky road to change

The ‘Ride for change’ campaign has been a rocky one as one of its cyclists was briefly detained by police in Kedah and the lorry transporting their bicycles across the Penang bridge was stopped.

Today is the fourth day of the 16-day tour from Alor Star to Kuala Lumpur involving a group of 50 activists organised by grassroots coalition, Jaringan Rakyat Tertindas (Jerit).

The campaign is Jerit’s attempt to raise awareness of the current issues plaguing the country like food shortage, environmental problems, draconian laws and the current financial crisis.

The group is scheduled to hand over a memorandum to Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim at the end of their campaign.

Jerit co-ordinator Y Kohila explained at the launch of the event last week that the campaign was inspired by estate workers in Bukit Asahan, Melaka, who marched 150km to Kuala Lumpur in the 1970s to meet the then prime minister to resolve their problems -