Monday, December 17, 2007

Protests In Malaysia Again

Thousands of activists gathered near a detention camp where Malaysia is holding five leaders of a ethnic Indian group and freed pigeons to demand their freedom, a rights group said on Sunday.

The five leaders were detained under the country’s controversial Internal Security Act (ISA) that allows for detention without trial last Thursday.

At least 2,000 activists held prayers in a nearby temple for their early release after police sealed the roads leading to Kamunting camp in the northern Perak state, said rights campaigner R S Thanenthiran.

"These people are not terrorists. The government is escaping from the real issue that Indians are marginalised in Malaysia," he said.

Thanenthiran said "36 pigeons were freed — five for the ISA detainees and 31 for those in prison awaiting Monday’s bail application — as a symbol of freedom for all of them," noting there were no arrests despite a heavy security presence.

The 31 Indians were arrested after last month’s protest outside the famous Batu Caves temple, north of capital Kuala Lumpur. They face an attempted murder charge against a policeman who allegedly suffered head injuries.

Rights group Hindraf, whom Thanenthiran represents, is pushing for an end to discrimination of minority ethnic Indians in multi-racial Malaysia, which is led by the majority Muslim-Malay administration.

The organisation enraged the government last month by mustering at least 8,000 people to the streets of Kuala Lumpur to highlight issues including a lack of economic opportunities and the destruction of Hindu temples.

But the activists’ demands seemed unlikely to be heeded as Malaysia on Sunday vowed more arrests under the ISA in order to maintain security ahead of possible elections early next year.

"These people are not terrorists. The government is escaping from the real issue that Indians are marginalised in Malaysia," said their leader. But our kerajaan contends that they are 'extremists' who are a 'threat' to national security and there is absolutely no truth to the claim of discrimination. Now who is telling the truth and who is lying? I suppose it depends through whose lens you are viewing the issue. After all what was that saying? One man's terrorist is another man's revolutionary.
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